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From the painting .>y Tintoretto No. 83, Plttl Palace Gallery 

Photographed by Alinari Brothers, Florence 

The Art of 



Celebrated Venetian Centenarian 


with essays by 
Joseph Addison, Lord Bacon, and Sir William Temple 

Here is everything advantageous to life. 

— ^"The Tempest" 


William F. Butler 





Oopyright, 190S 

Bt William F. Butlbb 

All rights reserved 


Against diseases known, the strangest fence 
Is the defensive virtue, abstinence. 

— Benjamin Franklin. 

rR a people of whom less than a two-hundredth part 
of one per cent, reach an age that Nature intends all 
should pass,'*' the words of the aged author of "The 
Temperate Life" possess a deep import. To them this volume 
is addressed. 

Louis Cornaro's own account — ^written toward the close 
of more than a century of life — of the means of his complete 
restoration from an almost hopeless complication of bodily 
infirmities, to the happy state he continued so long to enjoy, 
may be said to form a life story, which, in its peculiar sig- 
nificance, is without a parallel in history. 


''By showing conclusively and clearly 
That death is a stupid blunder merely. 
And not a necessity of our lives/* 

but by demonstrating, in a manner most decisive, that the 
condition of perfect health — maintained to the full limit of 
life ordained by Nature — ^is a blessing within the power of 
every human being to realize, and by indicating the path by 
which all may attain it, did this excellent man earn his unique 

♦ Sec Note A 



position among the benefactors of mankind. Let us hope 
that our positive and practical age, ever ready to judge a 
proposition by its degree of usefulness, will perceive that a 
rule of life which effected the recovery of a dying man, and 
enabled him to retain entire mental and bodily vigor beyond 
his hundredth year, is of incontestable merit. 

While there are some, who, though of the number of 
Comaro's most zealous pupils, regret that he permitted wine 
to form a portion of his abstemious diet; yet, when his 
position on this question is contrasted with the prevailing 
custom of his country and age, his life is none the less 
recognized by all, as one of the most salutary examples 
of a truly temperate career the world has yet witnessed. 

A carefully revised version of his celebrated treatise, 
made by able translators, is here presented. As a result of 
painstaking researches among ancient documents in the 
archives of Venice and Padua, historical matter relating to 
Cornaro and his family is also placed before the reader. 
Much of this is not to be found in any previous edition of 
his works, in the various languages into which they have 
been rendered. 

Of the other eminent writers whose teachings on the 
subject of longevity we have included in this volume, little 
need here be said. One of them, not many years after the 
famous centenarian had passed away, emphasized to the 
world, in the Latin tongue, the substantial advantages 
Cornaro had reaped from the habit of complete self-restraint 
to which he had accustomed himself in early manhood, and 
from which, for the remainder of his days, he had never 
deviated. A century after Bacon, in the graceful tribute 
which Addison — one of the most practical philosophers of his 
age — pays to Cornaro, we have an introduction to the work 
of the illustrious Venetian that is truly worthy of his theme. 

Acknowledgment for valuable assistance is gratefully 
made to Conte Comm. Filippo Grimani, LL. D., the honored 
Mayor of Venice ; Cav. Prof. Angelo Scrinzi, Ph. D., Director 
of the Venetian Civic Museum, and Dr. Ricciotti Bratti, his 



associate; as well as Dr. Prof. Andrea Moschetti, Director 
of the Civic Museum of Padua. Thanks are due, also, to 
Dr. Prof. Emilio Lovarini, of Bologna, and Signor Michele 
Danesi, Editor of "L'Arte/' Rome, for their kind revision of 
the translation of "The Villas Erected by Louis Comaro,*' 
and for their consent to its publication. To Cav. Dr. Enrico 
Ridolfi, Director of the Royal Galleries and National Museum 
of Florence, and to the photographers Signori Fratelli Alinari, 
of the same city, this work is indebted for the copy of the 
Tintoretto painting of Louis Comaro. Credit is accorded, 
for many helpful courtesies, to Miss Ida M. Street, author of 
''Ruskin's Principles of Art Criticism," and Messrs. Willard 
G. Bleyer, of the University of Wisconsin, and John G 
Gregory, of Milwaukee. 

Milwaukee, March, 1903. 


Bosom up my counsel; 
You'll find it wholesome. — William Shakespeare. 

Deign, reader, to be taught. 
Whatever thy strength of body, force of thought. 

— David Oarriek. 

Know, prudent, cautious, self-control 

Is wisdom's root. 

— Robert Bums. 

Wouldst thou enjoy a long life, a healthy body, and 
a vigorous mind, and be acquainted also with the wonder- 
ful works of Ood, labor in the first place to bring thy 
appetite to reason. — Benjamin FranJelin. 

There is no chance in results. — Ralph Waldo Emerson. 



Preface 7 


'To Louis Comaro." — Randall 13 

Addison, in "The Spectator," October 13, 171 1 15 


The Life and Writings of Louis Cornaro 25 

"The Temperate Life" by Louis Cornaro 

First Discourse 39 

Second Discourse ^^ 

Third Discourse 91 

Fourth Discourse 103 

Part II 

Selections from Lord Bacon's "History of Life and 

Death," etc 117 

Selections from Sir William Temple's "Health and 

Long Life," etc 141 


A Short History of the Cornaro Family 159 

Some Account of Eminent Comaros 169 

Gamba's Eulogy upon Louis Cornaro 179 

Lovarini's "The Villas Erected by Louis Cornaro".. 191 

Notes 209 


Louis Cornaro 4 

Joseph Addison 52 

Lord Bacon 102 

Sir William Temple 152 

The Comaro Coat of Arms 6 

If any man can convince me and bring h(yme to 
me thai I do not think or act aright, gladly will I 
change; for I search after truth, by which man never 
yet was harmed. But he is harmed who abideth on still 
in his deception and ignorance. 

Do not {hinh that what is hard for thee to m>aster 
is impossible for man; but if a thing is possible and 
proper to man, deem it attainable by thee. 

Persevere then until thou shall have made these 
things ihy own. 

Like a mariner who has doubled the promontory, 
thou wilt find calm, everything stable, and a waveless 

— Marcus Aurelvas AntonvMis. 




John Wrrr Bandall * 

thou that for an hundred years 
Didst lightly tread the ancestral hall. 

Yet sawest thy brethren bathed in tears. 
Cut down ere ripe, and round thee fall, — 

Well didst thou deem long life the measure 
Of long enjoyment to (he wise. 

To fools alone devoid of pleasure; 
Thou wouldst not die as the fool dies. 

Bobbed of thy titles, lands, and health. 
With man and fortune in disgrace. 

In wisdom didst thou seek thy wealth. 
Thy peace in friendship to thy race. 

Wiih thine eleven grandchildren met. 
Thou couldst at will become the boy; 

And, thine own sorrows to forget, 
Couldst lose thyself in others' joy, — 

* See Note B 



Oauldst mount thy horse when past fourscore. 
And climb steep hills, and on dull days 

Cheer the long hours with learned lore. 
Or spend thy wU on tales and plays. 

In summer, thou wast friend of flowers. 
And, when the winter nights grew long. 

And music cheered the evening hours, 
Btill clearest was the old man's song. 

Thus, while thy caim and thoughtful mind 

The ravages of time survived. 
Three generations of mankind 

Dropped round thee, joyless and short-lived. 

Thou sawest the flowers of youth decay. 
Half dried and withered through excess. 

Till, nursed by virtue's milder ray. 
Thy green age grew to fruUfulness. 

Thou sawest life's barque on troubled seas 
Long tossed; care's clouds thy shies o'ercast; 

But calm content, with moderate breeze. 
Brought thee to wisdom's port at last. 

Life's evening, wherein most behold 
Their season of regrets and fears. 

Became for thee an age of gold. 

And gave thee all thy happiest years. 

As gentle airs and genial sun 

Stay winter's march when leaves grow sere. 
And, when the summer's race is run. 

With a new summer crown the year; 



Bo temperance, like that lingering glow 
Which makes the October woods so bright. 

Did on thy vale of years bestow 
A glorious autumn of delight 

What useful lessons might our race 
From thy so sage experience drawl 

Earth might become a joyous place. 
Would man but reverence nature's law. 

Soar folly, self, and sense above; 

Oovem each mutinous desire; 
Nor let the sacred flame of love 

In passion's hurricane expire. 

No wondrous works of hand or mind 

Were thine; Ood bade thee stand and wait, 

A living proof to all thy kind 
That a wise man may master fate. 

Happy thai life around whose close 
The virtues all their rainbows cast. 

While wisdom and the soul's repose 
Make age more blest than all the past I 

THEEE* is a story in the "Arabian Nights^ Tales'^ 
of a king who had long languished under an 
ill habit of body, and had taken abundance of 
remedies to no purpose. At length, says the fable, 
a physician cured him by the following method: he 
took a hollow ball of wood, and filled it with several 

* S«« Note C 



drugs; after which he closed it up so artificially that 
nothing appeared. He likewise took a mall; and, 
after having hollowed the handle, and that part which 
strikes the ball, he inclosed in ihem several drugs 
after the same manner as in the ball itself. He 
then ordered the sultan, who was his patient, to exercise 
himself early in the morning with these rightly pre- 
pared instruments, till such time as he should sweat; 
when, as the story goes, the virtue of the medicaments 
perspiring through the wood, had so good an influence 
on the sultan's constitution, that they cured him of an 
indisposition which all the compositions he had taken 
inwardly had not been able to remove. This Eastern 
allegory is finely contrived to show us how beneficial 
bodily labor is to health, and that exercise is the most 
effectual physic. I have described in my hundred and 
fifteenth paper, from the general structure and mecha- 
nism of a human body, how absolutely necessary exercise 
is for its preservation; I shall in this place recommend 
another great preservative of health, which in many 
cases produces the same effects as exercise, and may, in 
some measure, supply its place, where opportunities of 
exercise are wanting. The preservative I am speaking 
of is temperance; which has those particular advantages 
above all other means of health, that it may be practiced 
by all ranks and conditions, at any season or in any place. 
It is a kind of regimen into which every man may put 
himself, without interruption to business, expense of 



money, or loss of tune. If exercise throws off all super- 
flnitiesy temperance prevents them; if exercise clears the 
vessels, temperance neither satiates nor overstrains 
them; if exercise raises proper ferments in the hnmors, 
and promotes the circulation of the blood, temperance 
gives nature her full play, and enables her to exert her- 
self in all her force and vigor; if exercise dissipates a 
growing distemper, temperance starves it 

Physic, for the most part, is nothing else but the 
substitute of exercise or temperance. Medicines are 
indeed absolutely necessary in acute distempers, that 
cannot wait the slow operations of these two great instru- 
ments of health; but did men live in a habitual course 
of exercise and temperance, there would be but little 
occasion for them. Accordingly, we find that tliose parts 
of the world are the most healthy where they subsist by 
the chase; and that men lived longest when their lives 
were employed in hunting, and when they had little food 
besides what they caught. Blistering, cupping, bleeding, 
are seldom of use but to the idle and intemperate; as all 
those inward applications which are so much in practice 
among us, are for the most part nothing else but expedi- 
ents to make luxury consistent with health. The apoth- 
ecary is perpetually employed in countermining the 
cook and the vintner. It is said of Diogenes, that, meet- 
ing a young man who was going to a feast, he took him 
up in the street and carried him home to his friends, as 
one who was running into imminent danger, had not he 



prevented him. What would that philosopher have 
said, had he been present at the gluttony of a modem 
mealt Would not he have thought the master of a family 
mad, and have begged his servants to tie down his hands, 
had he seen him devour fowl, fish, and flesh; swallow 
oil and vinegar, wines and spices; throw down salads of 
twenty different herbs, sauces of a hundred ingredients, 
confections and fruits of numberless sweets and flavors f 
What unnatural motions and counter-ferments must such 
a medley of intemperance produce in the body I For my 
part, when I behold a fashionable table set out in all its 
magnificence, I fancy that I see gouts and dropsies, 
fevers and lethargies, with other innumerable distempers, 
lying in ambuscade among the dishes. 

Nature delights in the most plain and simple diet. 
Every animal, but man, keeps to one dish. Herbs are 
the food of this species, fish of that, and flesh of a third. 
Man falls upon everything that comes in his way; not 
the smallest fruit or excrescence of the earth, scarce a 
berry or a mushroom, can escape him. 

It is impossible to lay down any determinate rule 
for temperance; because what is luxury in one may be 
temperance in another. But there are few that have 
lived any time in the world, who are not judges of their 
own constitutions, so far as to know what kinds and what 
proportions of food do best agree with them. Were I to 
consider my readers as my patients, and to prescribe 
such a kind of temperance as is accommodated to all per- 



sonSy and such as is particularly stiitable to our climate 
and way of living, I would copy the following rules of 
a very eminent physician: Make your whole repast out 
of one dish; if you indulge in a second, avoid drinking 
anything strong till you have finished your meal; at the 
same time abstain from all sauces, or at least such as are 
not the most plain and simple. A man could not be well 
guilty of gluttony, if he stuck to these few obvious and 
easy rules. In the first case, there would be no variety 
of tastes to solicit his palate, and occasion excess ; nor, 
in the second, any artificial provocatives to relieve satiety, 
and create a false appetite. . . . But, because it is 
impossible for one who lives in the world to diet himself 
always in so philosophical a manner, I think every man 
should have his days of abstinence, according as his con- 
stitution will permit. These are great reliefs to nature, 
as they qualify her for struggling with hunger and 
thirst, whenever any distemper or duty of life may put 
her upon such difficulties; and at the same time give her 
an opportunity of extricating herself from her oppres- 
sions, and recovering the several tones and springs of 
her distended vessels. Besides that, abstinence well- 
timed often kills a sickness in embryo, and destroys the 
first seeds of an indisposition. It is observed by two or 
three ancient authors, that Socrates, notwithstanding he 
lived in Athens during that great plague, which has made 
so much noise through all ages, and has been celebrated 
at different times by such eminent hands; I say, not- 



witlistanding that he lived in the time of this devouring 
pestilence, he never caught the least infection; which 
those writers unanimously ascribe to that uninterrupted 
temperance which he always observed. 

And here I cannot but mention an observation which 
I have often made, upon reading the lives of the philoso- 
phers, and comparing them with any series of kings or 
great men of the same number. If we consider these 
ancient sages, a great part of whose philosophy consisted 
in a temperate and abstemious course of life, one would 
think the life of a philosopher and the life of a man were 
of two different dates. For we find that the generality 
of these wise men were nearer a hundred than sixty 
years of age at the time of tlieir respective deaths. But 
the most remarkable instance of the efficacy of temper- 
ance toward the procuring of long life, is what we meet 
with in a little book published by Louis Cobnabo 
the Venetian; which I the rather mention, because it 
is of undoubted credit, as the late Venetian ambassador, 
who was of the same family, attested more than once in 
conversation, when he resided in England. Comaro, 
who was the author of the little ^^ Treatise'^ I am men- 
tioning, was of an infirm constitution, till about forty; 
when, by obstinately persisting in an exact course of 
temperance, he recovered a perfect state of health; inso- 
much that at fourscore he published his book, which has 
been translated into English under the title of ^^A Sure 
and Certain Method of Attaining a Long and Healthy 



Life/' He lived to give a third or fourth edition of it; 
and, after having passed his hundredth year, died without 
pain or agony, and like one who falls asleep. The 
"Treatise'' I mention has been taken notice of by several 
eminent authors, and is written with such a spirit of 
cheerfulness, religion, and good sense, as are the natural 
concomitants of temperance and sobriety. The mixture 
of tlie old man in it is rather a recommendation than a 
discredit to it.— Joseph Addison in "The Spectatob," 
October 13, 1711. 


Of all tyrants, custom is that which to sustain 
itself stands most in need of the opinion which is enter- 
tained of its power; its only strength lies in that which 
is attributed to it A single attempt to break the yoke 
soon shows us its fragility. But the chief property of 
custom is to contract our ideas, like our movements, 
within the circle it has traced for us. It governs us by 
the terror it inspires for any new and untried condition. 
It shows us the walls of the prison wUhin which we are 
inclosed, as the boundary of the world; beyond that, all 
is undefined, confusion, chaos; it almost seems as 
though we should not have air to breathe. 

—F. P. 0. Guizot. 





Prbfaobd by a Short Aooount of His 
Life and WRirnfos 

*Ti8 in ounelves that we 
are thxis or thus. Our bodies are gardens; to the 
which our vnlls are gardeners: so that if we will plant 
nettles or sow lettuce, set hyssop and weed up thyme, 
supply it with one gender of herbs or distract it with 
many, either to have it sterile with idleness or manured 
with industry, why, the power and corrigible authority 
of this lies in our wills. If the balance of our lives 
had not one scale of reason to poise another of sensuality, 
the blood and baseness of our natures would conduct 
us to most preposterous conclusions: but we have reason 
to cool our raging motions, our carnal stings, our unr 
bitted lusts.— 'OthelW* 

R srK)rt Recount of 




B^M THE Italian of Hiebonimo Gualdo (oibga 1560) 

DoKE INTO English Vebse bt 

John Ooadbt Gbeqoby 

Sir, well may Fame to you accord the praise 
That, spite of adverse stars and nature's strife. 
Solely by measured conduct of your life. 

Healthy and happy you gained length of days. 

Nor stops approval there, but also weighs 
The pains you spared not to set others right, 
Ouiding their footsteps by your beacon-light 

To long and pleasant journeying through life's maze. 

Blest is your lot, who, with a steadfast mind. 
Beneath a load of years which many fear. 

Contented and felicitous abide, 



Your voice in song upraised robust and clear. 
Your thoughts unth noble studies occupied. 
That good is yours which is for man designed. 


^'Weary and woeful is senectUude 
E*en when from penury and aches His free,** 
Cries one, 'Jor that it brings debility. 

And warns us of the grisly monarch rude.** 

Yet he who holds in rein his passions crude. 
Nor rends the blossoms from life*s growing tree, 
Gathers in age fruits sweet and fair to see. 

For Nature is with purpose hind endued. 

If I, now years come on, am weak and ill. 
Not time, but I, am cause of this my woe. 

Too much I heeded headlong appetite. 

And though to save the wreck I bend my will, 
*Tis vain, I fear — I ever older grow. 

And aged error is not soon set right. 


In hermit caverns, where the desert glowers. 
The ancient Fathers lived on frugal fare — 
Boots, cresses, herbs— avoiding viands rare. 

Nor had they palates less refined than ours. 

From their example, confirmation flowers 
Of what you tell me, and in mind I bear 
That feasts which folly spreads on tables fair 

Our framss enfeeble and reduce our powers. 



The wish in man is native to remain 
Long with the living, for to live is sweet. 

His wish he may by abstinence attain. 
Dame Reason counsels, sober and discreet. 

This way that solid privilege to gain. 
And tardy to the realm of shades retreat. 

LOUIS CORNARO (ancient Venetian, Alvise; modern 
Italian, Luigi, Lodovico, or Ludovico),— often styled 
' The Venetian Centenarian, — ^the author of the famous 
treatise, "The Temperate Life," which forms the main por- 
tion of this volume, was born in the city of Venice in the year 

Although a direct descendant of the illustrious family of 
Comaro, yet, defrauded in some way through the dishonest 
intrigues of some of his relatives, — ^we are but imperfectly 
acquainted with the circumstances, — he was deprived of the 
honors and privileges attached to his noble birth, and excluded 
from all public employment in the State. A man of great 
personal and family pride, he felt very keenly the humilia- 
tion of this treatment; and, as a consequence, he withdrew 
from his native place and made the city of Padua his home 
for the remainder of his life, save for brief seasons of summer 
retirement to his country-seats. 

Yet that, which, at the time, must have seemed to him a 
great misfortune, proved eventually a blessing; and doubt- 
less, during the long course of his remarkable career, Cor- 
naro's philosophic mind often reverted with thankfulness to 
those very indignities, but for which, perhaps, he would 
never have received the chief incentive of his life; for may 
we not believe it was because of them that he resolved to 
found for himself a more honorable name^-one that should 
rest upon a sounder and more worthy basis than mere family 
pride. This determination, whatever may have inspired it. 



proved, as we learn in his narrative, to be the crisis of his 
life, changing, as if by magic, its entire course; and it 
resulted in the establishment of a fame, not only great in his 
own day, but which continues to increase as time rolls on. 

In order to accomplish the purpose uppermost in his 
mind, the first thing to which he gave his constant and most 
intelligent attention was the securing of perfect health, which 
heretofore he had never known, and which he recognized as 
the best armor for the warfare of life; a knowledge, the 
importance of which — in his day, as in ours — few fully 
realized. At the details of this glorious work, as well as its 
happy results, we shall here take only a hasty glance; for 
the picture he has painted is by the hand of a master, and 
no one but himself can do it justice. 

Born with a very delicate constitution, accompanied 
unfortunately by a choleric disposition, Comaro furthermore 
gave evidence, in early life, of careless habits which finally 
developed into those of intemperance; and, though destined 
to leave behind him a name imperishable, because of virtues 
based upon a complete subjugation of every passion, was 
almost destroyed, before he reached the age of forty, by those 
natural and acquired infirmities, which, for years, had made 
his days and nights an almost continual martyrdom. 

Finally convinced that his unnatural habits would, if 
persisted in, soon be the cause of his death, and possessed 
of that determined courage and resolution, which, on a closer 
acquaintance, we shall recognize and learn to admire as his 
chief trait, he changed his manner of life so completely that, 
in a very brief time, his diseases disappeared, giving place 
to a rugged health and serenity of mind hitherto unknown 
to him. In a word, from a despairing and almost helpless 
invalid, unfit for cither work or enjoyment, he became not 
only a man of perfect health, singularly active and happy, 
but also such an example of complete self-restraint as to be 
the wonder and admiration of all who knew him, earning and 
receiving the title of The Temperate. The mildness and 
sweetness of his altered disposition at the same time gained 
for him the fullest respect and affection. 



In the city of Udine, northern Italy, he married Veronica 
di Spilimbergo,^ a daughter of the noble house of that name. 

He very much desired children, not only for every natural 
reason, but also in order that his own offspring might inherit 
the large fortune which he possessed. Though for a long time 
disappointed in this hope, he was finally made very happy 
by the advent of a little daughter, bom when he and his wife 
were both well advanced in years ; to her they gave the name 
of Chiara (Clara) .^^ In due time she was married to one of 
her own name and kindred, Giovanni (John), the son of 
Fantino Cornaro, a member of the wealthy aiid powerful 
Cornaro Piscopia branch of the family. She became the 
mother of eight sons and three daughters, all of whom the 
grandfather — as we learn from his own words — ^lived to see 
and enjoy. 

Having faithfully observed that wise law of Nature, 
moderation, for so many years, he anticipated, with a con- 
fidence which the sequel will show was neither unfounded 
nor disappointed, a happy and prosperous life of not less than 
a century; and this span he was equally certain he would 
have been able to extend considerably, had it been his good 
fortune to have begun life with the advantages he assures us 
his teachings will confer on the children of all who lead the 
temperate life it had been his delight to follow. 

To the very close of his wonderful career he retained 
his accustomed health and vigor, as well as the possession, 
in their perfection, of all his faculties. No hand but his own 
can faithfully give us an account of the recreations and 
pleasures of that happy old age for which he entreats all to 
strive. But we may sum it all up in the one brief line wherein 
he assures us: "I never knew the world was beautiful until 
I reached old age." Of the knowledge that his was an 
instance without a parallel, he himself was not ignorant. In 
this thought he not only took a pardonable pride, but derived 
one of the greatest joys of his old age, when he reflected that 
while many others before him had written eulogies upon a 
life of temperance and regularity, no one, at the end of a cen- 
tury of life, had ever taken pen in hand to leave to the world 

* See Note D ♦♦ Sec Note C 



the Story of a personal participation in the many indescribable 
blessings, which, for so many years, it had been his lot to 
enjoy; nor had any one, after recovering broken health, lived 
to such an age to tell the world how he had done so. 

The one thought uppermost in his heart was that of 
gratitude for his recovery, and for the countless blessings of 
his long life. This sentiment he hoped would ever continue 
to bear substantial fruit; for he lived and died in the belief 
that his labors in writing a faithful account of his experience, 
would result, for all time, in benefiting those who would 
listen to him. He was convinced that if he, who had begun 
life under so many disadvantages, could attain perfect health 
and continue in it for so many years, the possibilities of those 
blessed with a perfect constitution and aided, from child- 
hood, with the temperate rule of life, must indeed be almost 
unlimited. It will be difficult to find anywhere recorded an 
instance wherein constitutional defects, aggravated by unwise 
habits of life, threatened a more untimely death ; and if Cor- 
naro, with a constitution naturally weak and apparently 
ruined at the age of forty, could attain such results, who will 
presume to set a limit to the possibilities of longevity for the 
human family, after consecutive generations have faithfully 
observed Nature's wise laws? 

Loaded with testimonials of the gratitude and rever- 
ence of many who had profited by his example and advice, — 
which knowledge of this benefit to others was, as he assures 
us, among the sweetest of his many blessings, — ^he passed 
the evening of his life honored by all, aiid in the enjoyment 
of the friendship and esteem of the most eminent of his 
countrymen. Having devoted his best years to the accom- 
plishment of what he firmly believed to be his mission in this 
world, — a consecrated task, that of bringing home to his fel- 
low-men the realization of the inevitable consequences of 
intemperance, — ^he patiently waited for the end. When death 
came, it found him armed with the resignation of the phi- 
losopher and a steadfastly courageous faith in the future, 
ready and glad to resign his life. Peacefully, as he had 
expected and foretold, he died at his palace in Padua, April 



26, 1566, in the one hundred and third year of his age. (His- 
torians have not agreed as to the year of his birth, some 
placing his age at one hundred and four, others as low as 
ninety-eight. The dates we have given are, however, sub- 
stantiated by the best authorities.) 

He was buried on the eighth of the following month, 
without any pomp, according to the directions left in his 
will; and by his side his faithful wife, who survived him and 
lived to almost the same age, in due time was laid. Her end 
was an equally happy one, finding her in such perfect serenity 
of soul and ease of body, that those at her bedside were not 
aware that her gentle spirit had taken its flight. 

The beautiful home, built by Comaro on the Via Mel- 
chiorre Cesarotti in Padua, and die scene, for so many years, 
of the greatest domestic happiness as well as of the most 
generous hospitality, is still in existence, and has always been 
known by his name. It consists, mainly, of three buildings; 
the palace — which is the principal one — and the casino are 
both attributed to Cornaro himself; while the celebrated 
loggia is known as the work of his prot6ge and friend, Fal- 
conetto.* The three inclose a courtyard, upon which all face — 
the palace on one side near the street, the loggia and casino 
on other sides. 

The best portrait extant of this justly celebrated man is 
catalogued as No. 83 in the famous gallery of the Pitti Palace, 
at Florence. It has, until recently, been considered one of 
Titian's paintings; but it is now known as the work of Tin- 
toretto, and is among the masterpieces of that famous artist. 
The canvas measures 44x33 inches, and the photographic 
copy used in this work is declared by the Director of the Pitti 
Gallery to be an excellent one. The figure, two-thirds in 
length, is life size. Cornaro is represented as seated in an 
armchair, dressed in black, his coat trimmed with fur. 
Though the picture portrays a man well advanced in years, 
there is a dignity of bearing and a keenness of eye that indi- 
cate one still physically vigorous and mentally alert. 

In other portions of this volume, some of the many 

* Sec Note E 



attainments of this remarkable man are made manifest; we 
will here — ^with this passing mention of his treatise on the 
preservation of the lagoons ("Trattato delle Acque," Padua, 
1560) — ^notice, very briefly, the writings for which he is 
chiefly known. 

At the age of eighty-three, after more than forty years 
of perfect health and undisturbed tranquillity of spirits, dur- 
ing which time he had lived a life that contrasted as much 
with that of his earlier days as it did with that which he saw 
commonly lived by others around him, he wrote the first of 
the four discourses which constitute his famous treatise, 
'The Temperate Life." This was followed by the three 
others, one written at the age of eighty-six, one at ninety-one, 
and the last at ninety-five; the four completing a most 
instructive life story— one with which he earnestly wished 
all might become familiar, that they might follow his example, 
and thus enjoy the countless blessings which had so filled 
his own cup to overflowing. 

Centuries ago, P3rthagoras, Herodicus, Hippocrates, 
Iccus, Celsus, and Galen — ^as have some in every age — ^waged 
a bitter warfare against unnatural habits of life ; and accounts 
of the attainment of extraordinary age, both in ancient and 
modern times, are not uncommon. The autobiography of 
Comaro, however, who, after patient search, discovered in 
his own person the curative and life-sustaining power of the 
temperate life, — ^and that beyond the century mark, — and 
who, with equal diligence, labored to impress upon others 
the lesson of his own experience, affords an instance without 
parallel in all the annals of history. 

In a very brief way — more effective, he believed, than 
if written at greater length — does this remarkable man hand 
down to posterity his conviction, both from observation and 
experience, of the utter worthlessness of the kind of life too 
often seen on all sides. At the same time he pictures the 
reward to be reaped every moment, but especially in old age, 
from a life spent in conformity with reason and Nature. 

Most particularly does he emphasize the greater value of 
the later years of life as compared with the earlier ones. By 



the time men have acquired knowledge, judgment, and expe- 
rience, — ^the necessary equipment of the fullest citizenship, — 
they are unable, he observes, because of physical degenera- 
tion, consequent on irrational and unnatural methods of liv- 
ing, to exercise these qualifications. Such men are then cut 
off in their prime, leaving, at fifty or sixty, their life work 
but half completed; and yet, as he protests, were they but to 
attain extreme age as followers of the life he led, ''How much 
more beautiful would they make the world!" 

The first edition of "The Temperate Life" — ^the work on 
which Comaro's fame chiefly rests — ^was published at Padua 
in the year 1558; and few works of such small dimension have 
excited wider or more fervid discussion. For three hundred 
years this treatise has been a classic in his native land. Trans- 
lated into Latin, as also into many modern languages, it has 
been popular wherever studied. Slight as the book is, it has, 
and will continue to have, a permanent place in general liter- 
ature ; though we believe it may be questioned if many in this 
country, even among the most cultured readers, have had an 
opportunity of reading it. 

To those only imperfectly acquainted with his story, Cor- 
naro is merely a famous valetudinarian, who was enabled, by 
temperate living, to pass the age of a hundred. Careful 
readers of the book, however, will always remember him not 
only as a most charming autobiographer, but also as a 
man, who, having successfully solved one of life's most dif- 
ficult problems, labored to encourage in others those habits 
which had proved so advantageous in his own case. His 
assurance that, after all, this world would be a most delight- 
ful place if people would but live temperately, is the burden 
of his message to mankind; and who, to-day, is ready to 
declare him wrong in his assertion that man, by the weak 
indulgence of his appetites, has always shortened his life and 
failed to reap the countless blessings within his reach? 
Convinced that from this source come most of the ills that 
flesh is heir to, Comaro writes with the confidence that those 
who listen to him earnestly will not fail to heed his warning. 
Thus, also, will they not only secure that perfect health of 



body and mind, without which complete happiness can never 
be realized, but will be enabled to prolong, in honorable 
endeavor, that enviable condition to the extreme limit intended 
by Nature. He hoped that the faithful following of his 
counsel would transform into a universal hymn of joy the 
strain of despairing weariness, — ^so evident throughout the 
recorded thought of all the centuries, — in which men of all 
nations and ranks of life have deplored the early loss of youth 
and vigor, and lamented the resistless strides of premature 
old age. 

A simple diet was almost exclusively the nourishment of 
the oldest peoples of Syria, Egypt, Greece, and, in their most 
glorious days, of the Romans ; and when man shall once more 
take to heart this lesson of the means of enjoying uninter- 
rupted health and full length of days, — ^blessings which in 
ages long past were almost universally enjoyed, and which 
man alone, and the animals under his control, now fail to 
possess, — ^the world will everywhere be blessed with the 
presence of those who will be considered in their prime at an 
age now scarcely believed attainable. There will then be no 
doubt that life is worth living; and, because man will then 
seek only its true and enduring joys, those problems that for 
ages have distressed him will vanish of themselves — problems 
existing only because of the craving of the unhealthy human 
brain for those shadows of life so long pictured as its sub- 

The reader will have spent his time in vain, however, if 
he fails to appreciate fully the vital importance of the fact 
that Comaro's own regimen, as he most strongly insists, was 
intended for himself alone — ^that he does not urge upon every- 
one the extreme abstinence practiced by himself. All persons, 
he declares, should observe the temperate life prescribed as 
Nature's highest law; but, as the temperance of one man is 
excess in his neighbor, each must discover the suitable quan- 
tity and quality of food proper in his own individual case, 
and then live accoiidingly. It is the aim and spirit, not the 
letter, of his example that he implores mankind to observe. 

While Comaro's personal dietary habits are not, indeed, 



applicable in detail to every individual constitution, and were 
never, as we have just said, intended by him as such, yet his 
general rules will always be correct. These have had in the 
past, and have to-day, many followers; and the number of 
those who faithfully tread in the pathway indicated for them 
by the venerable writer, constantly enjoying, during a long 
and happy life, the blessings promised them, will continue to 
increase, let us hope, until it includes, in the not remote 
future, the vast majority of our race. Even in an age of 
wealth and luxury, such as ours, in which opportunities 
rapidly multiply for the gratification of every sensuous desire, 
we need not fear that those who choose to be critics of Cor- 
naro and the fundamental rules of his teachings, will con- 
tinue to find willing listeners. Let us hope that, in time, all 
will take to heart the lesson taught mankind by the bitter 
experience of the centuries: that the physical, moral, intel- 
lectual, and social condition now so almost hopelessly uni- 
versal, is but the inevitable result of disobedience of natural 
law; and that man has but himself to blame when he fails 
to possess the greatest of earthly blessings — perfect health 
of body and mind — ^and fullness of years in which to enjoy it. 


Some, 08 thou aaw'at, by violent stroke shall die. 

By fire, flood, famine; by intemperance more 

In meats and drinks, which on the Earth shall bring 

Diseases dire, of which a monstrous crew 

Before thee shall appear, that thou may'st know 

What misery the inabstinence of Eve 

Shall bring on men. 

If thou well observe 
The rule of ''Not too much," by temperance taught 
In what thou eat'st and drirJe'st, seeking from thence 
Due nourishment, not gluttonous delight. 
Till many years over thy head return; 
So mayst thou live, till, like ripe fruit, thou drop 
Into thy mother's lap, or be with ease 
Gathered, not harshly plucked, for death maiure. 

— ''Paradise Lost' 










Eighty-six, Ninety-one, and Ninety-five 

Divine Sobriety, pleasing to Ood, the friend of 
nature, the daughter of reason, the sister of virtue, the 
companion of temperate living, . . . the loving mother 
of human life, the true medicine both of the soul and 
of the body; how much should msn praise and thank 
thee for thy courteous gifts! for thou givest them the 
means of preserving life in health, that blessing than 
which it did not please Ood we should have a greater in 
this world — life and existence, so naturally prized, so 
willingly guarded by every living creature! 

— Louis Oomaro. 


Written at the Age of Eighty-three 

Wherein me aumor details me memod Dv which he 
corrected his Infirm condition, strengthened his 
naturally weak constitution, and thence- 
forth continued In the enjoyment 
of perfect health 

IT is certain that habit, in man, eventually becomes 
second nature, compelling him to practice that to 
which he has become accustomed, regardless of 
whether such a thing be beneficial or injurious to him. 
Moreover, we see in many instances— and no one can 
call this into question— that the force of habit will 
triumph even over reason. Indeed, if a man of good 
morals frequents the company of a bad man, it very often 
happens that he will change from good to bad. Tet 
sometimes the contrary is equally true; namely, that 
while good habits often change readily for the worse, so 
also do bad habits change to good ones ; since a wicked 
man who has once been good may still, by frequenting 
the society of the good, return to the better ways which he 



had formerly followed. All these changes must be 
attributed solely to the force of habit, which is truly very 

It is in consequence of this powerful force of habit, 
that of late, — indeed during my own lifetime and 
memory, — three evil customs have gradually gained a 
foothold in our own Italy. The first of these is adulation 
and ceremony, the second is heresy, and the third is 
intemperance. These three vices, cruel monsters of 
human life as they truly are, have, in our day, prevailed 
so universally as to have impaired the sincerity of social 
life, the religion of the soul, and the health of the body. 

Having long reflected on this unfortunate condition, 
I have now determined to treat of the last of these vices- 
intemperance ; and, in order to accomplish all I can 
toward abolishing it, I shall prove that it is an abuse. 
With regard to the two other obnoxious habits, I feel 
certain that, ere long, some noble mind will undertake 
the task of condemning them and removing them from 
among us. Thus do I firmly hope that I shall, before I 
leave this world, see these three abuses conquered and 
crushed out of Italy, and, consequently, witness the 
return of my country to her wise and beautiful customs 
of yore. 

Coming, then, to that evil concerning which I pro- 
pose to speak,— the vice of intemperance,— I declare that 
it is a wicked thing that it should prevail to such an extent 
as to greatly lower, nay, almost abolish, the temperate 
life. For though it is well known by all that intemper- 
ance proceeds from the vice of gluttony, and temperance 
from the virtue of restraint, nevertheless the former 
is exalted as a virtuous thing and even as a mark of 
distinction, while temperance is stigmatized and scorned 
as dishonorable, and as befitting the miserly alone. 



These false notions are dne entirely to the force of 
habity bred by men's senses and uncontrolled appetites. 
It is this craving to gratify the appetites which has 
allnred and inebriated men to such a degree that, 
abandoning the path of virtue, they have taken to follow- 
ing the one of vice—a road which leads them, though they 
see it not, to strange and fatal chronic infirmities through 
which they grow prematurely old. Before they reach the 
age of forty their health has been completely worn out- 
just the reverse of what the temperate life once did for 
them. For this, before it was banished by the deadly 
habit of intemperance, invariably kept all its followers 
strong and healthy, even to the age of fourscore and 

wretched and unhappy Italy, canst thou not see 
that intemperance kills every year amongst thy people as 
great a number as would perish during the time of a most 
dreadful pestilence, or by the sword or fire of many 
bloody wars ! And these truly immoral banquets of thine, 
now so commonly the custom,— feasts so great and 
intolerable that the tables are never found large enough 
to accommodate the innumerable dishes set upon them, 
so that they must be heaped, one upon another, almost 
mountain high,— must we not brand them as so many 
destructive battles! Who could ever live amid such 
a multitude of disorders and excesses 1 

Oh, for the love of God, I conjure you to apply a 
remedy to this unholy condition I for I am certain there 
is no vice more displeasing to His Divine Majesty than 
this fatal one of intemperance. Let this new death, worse 
than any pestilence ever known, be driven out of Italy ; as 
was the case with that other epidemic, which, though it 
once caused so much misery, nowadays does but very 
little harm,— indeed, scarcely any,— thanks to the im- 



proved state of affairs brought about by good sanitary 

For there is a remedy by which we may banish this 
fatal vice of intemperance— an easy remedy, and one of 
which every man may avail himself if he will; that is, to 
live in accordance with the simplicity of Nature, which 
teaches us to be satisfied with little, to follow the ways of 
holy self-control and divine reason, and to accustom our- 
selves to eat nothing but that which is necessary to 
sustain life. 

We should bear in mind that anything more than this 
wiQ surely be followed by infirmity and death; and that 
while intemperance is merely a gratification of the 
palate,— a pleasure that vanishes in a moment,— yet, for 
a long time afterward, it causes the body much suffering 
and damage, and finally destroys it together with the 

I have seen many of my dearest friends and associ- 
ates, men endowed with splendid gifts of intellect and 
noble qualities of heart, fall, in the prime of life, victims 
of this dread tyrant; men who, were they yet living, 
would be ornaments to the world, while their friendship 
and company would add to my enjoyment in the same 
proportion as I was caused sorrow by their loss. 

Therefore, to prevent so great an evil for the future, 
I have decided to point out, in this brief treatise, what a 
fatal abuse is the vice of intemperance, and how easily it 
may be removed and replaced by the temperate habits of 
life which were formerly universal. And this I under- 
take all the more willingly, since I have been pressed 
thereunto by a number of young men of the brightest 
intellect, who are well aware that intemperance is a fatal 
vice ; for they have seen their fathers die from its effects 
in the fiower of manhood, while, on the other hand, they 


LOUIS oobnabo'b tbeatibb 

behold me still hale and flourishing at my great age of 
eighty-three years. 

Now, Nature does not deny us the power of living 
many years. Indeed, old age, as a matter of fact, is the 
time of life to be most coveted, as it is then that prudence 
is best exercised, and the fruits of all the other virtues 
are enjoyed with the least opposition; because, by that 
time, the passions are subdued, and man gives himself up 
wholly to reason. 

Hence, being desirous that they likewise may attain 
old age, these young people have besought me that I may 
be pleased to tell them the means by which I have been 
able to reach this advanced age. And since I perceive 
them full of so honest a desire, and as I heartily wish to 
benefit not only them, but those others also who may wish 
to read this brief treatise of mine, I shall now set forth, 
in writing, the cause which induced me to abandon my 
intemperate habits, and to embrace the orderly and 
temperate life. I shall likewise relate the manner in 
which I went about this reform, and the good results I 
afterward experienced through it; whence it will be 
clearly seen how easy a matter it is to overcome the habit 
of excess. And I shall demonstrate, in conclusion, how 
much that is good and advantageous is to be derived from 
the temperate life. 

I say, then, that the dire infirmities from which I 
constantly suffered, and which had not only invaded my 
system, but had gained such headway as to have become 
most serious, were the cause of my renouncing the errors 
of intemperance to which I had been very much addicted. 

The excesses of my past life, together with my bad 
constitution,— my stomach being very cold and moist,— 
had caused me to fall a prey to various ailments, such as 
pains in the stomach, frequent pains in the side. 



symptoms of gout, and, still worse, a low fever that was 
almost continuous; but I suffered especially from dis- 
order of the stomach, and from an unquenchable thirst. 
This evil— nay, worse than evil— condition left me 
nothing to hope for myself, except that death should 
terminate my troubles and the weariness of my life— a 
life as yet far removed from its natural end, though 
brought near to a close by my wrong manner of living. 

After every known means of cure had been tried, 
without affording me any relief, I was, between my 
thirty-fifth and fortieth years, reduced to so infirm a 
condition that my physicians declared there was but one 
remedy left for my ills— a remedy which would surely 
conquer them, provided I would make up my mind to 
apply it and persevere patiently in its use. 

That remedy was the temperate and orderly life, 
which, they assured me, possessed as great strength and 
efficacy for the accomplishment of good results, as that 
other, which was completely its opposite in every way,— 
I mean an intemperate and disorderly life,— possessed 
for doing harm. And of the power of these two opposite 
manners of living I should entertain no doubt; both by 
reason of the fact that my infirmities had been caused by 
disorder,— though, indeed, I was not yet reduced to such 
extremity that I might not be wholly freed from them by 
the temperate life, which counteracts the effects of an 
intemperate one,— and because it is obvious that this 
regular and orderly life preserves in health even 
persons of feeble constitution and decrepit age, as long 
as they observe it. It is equally manifest that the oppo- 
site life, an irregular and disorderly one, has the power 
to ruin, while in the strength of early manhood, the con- 
stitutions of men endowed with robustness, and to keep 
them sick for a great length of time. All this is in 



accordance with the natnral law which ordains that 
contrary ways of living must necessarily produce 
contrary effects. Art itself, imitating in this the proc- 
esses of nature, will gradually correct natural defects 
and imperfections— a principle we find clearly exempli- 
fied in agriculture and other similar things. 

My physicians warned me, in conclusion, that if I 
neglected to apply this remedy, in a short time it would 
be too late to derive any benefit from it; for, in a few 
months, I should certainly die. 

I, who was very sad at the thought of dying at so 
early an age and yet was continually tormented by sick- 
ness, having heard these good and plausible reasons, grew 
thoroughly convincedsthat from order and from disorder 
must of necessity proceed the contrary effects which I 
have mentioned; and, fired with hope, I resolved that, in 
order to escape death and, at the same time, to be 
delivered from my sufferings, I would embrace the 
orderly life. 

Having been instructed by my physicians as to the 
method I was to adopt, I understood that I was not to 
partake of any foods, either solid or liquid, save such as 
are prescribed for invalids; and, of these, in small 
quantities only. To tell the truth, diet had been pre- 
scribed for me before; but it had been at a time, when, 
preferring to live as I pleased and being weary of such 
foods, I did not refrain from gratifying myself by eating 
freely of all those things which were to my taste. And 
being consumed, as it were, by fever, I did not hesitate to 
continue drinking, and in large quantities, the wines 
which pleased my palate. Of all this, of course, after the 
fashion of invalids, I never breathed a word to my 

After I had once taken a firm resolution that I would 



henceforth live temperately and rationally, and had 
realized, as I did, tiiat to do so was not only an easy 
matter, but, indeed, the duty of every man, I entered upon 
my new course so heartily that I never afterward 
swerved from it, nor ever committed the slightest excess 
in any direction. Within a few days I began to realize 
that this new life suited my health excellently; and, per- 
severing in it, in less than a year— though the fact may 
seem incredible to some— I found myself entirely cured 
of all my complaints. 

Now that I was in perfect health, I began to consider 
seriously the power and virtue of order; and I said to 
myself that, as it had been able to overcome so many and 
such great ills as mine, it would surely be even more 
efficacious to preserve me in health, to assist my un- 
fortunate constitution, and to strengthen my extremely 
weak stomach. 

Accordingly, I began to observe very diligently 
what kinds of food agreed with me. I determined, in the 
first place, to experiment with those which were most 
agreeable to my palate, in order that I might learn if they 
were suited to my stomach and constitution. The 
proverb, "Whatever tastes good will nourish and 
strengthen,*' is generally regarded as embodjdng a truth, 
and is invoked, as a first principle, by those who are 
sensually inclined. In it I had hitherto firmly believed; 
but now I was resolved to test the matter, and find to what 
extent, if any, it was true. 

My experience, however, proved this saying to be 
false. For instance, dry and very cold wine was agree- 
able to my taste; as were also melons; and, among other 
garden produce, raw salads; also fish, pork, tarts, vege- 
table soups, pastries, and other similar articles. All of 
these, I say, suited my taste exactly, and yet I found they 



were hurtful to me. Thus having, by my own experience, 
proved the proverb in question to be erroneous, I ever 
after looked upon it as such, and gave up the use of that 
kind of food and of that kind of wine, as well as cold 
drinking. Instead, I chose only such wines as agreed 
with my stomach, taking of them only such a quantity as 
I knew it could easily digest; and I observed the same 
rule with regard to my food, exercising care both as to 
the quantity and the quality. In this manner, I ac- 
customed myself to the habit of never fully satisfying my 
appetite, either with eating or drinking— always leaving 
the table well able to take more. In this I acted accord- 
ing to the proverb: ^^Not to satiate one's self with food 
is the science of health.'' 

Being thus rid, for the reasons and in the manner 
I have given, of intemperance and disorder, I devoted 
myself entirely to the sober and regular life. This had 
such a beneficial effect upon me that, in less than a year 
as I have just said, I was entirely freed from all the ills 
which had been so deeply rooted in my system as to have 
become almost incurable. 

Another excellent result which this new life effected 
in me was that I no longer fell sick every year— as I had 
always previously done while following my former 
sensual manner of life— of a strange fever, which at times 
had brought me near to death's door; but, under my new 
regimen, from this also was I delivered. 

In a word, I grew most healthy; and I have remained 
so from that time to this day, and for no other reason 
than that of my constant fidelity to the orderly life. The 
unbounded virtue of this is, that that which I eat and 
drink,— always being such as agrees with my constitution 
and, in quantity, such as it should be,— after it has 
imparted its invigorating elements to my body, leaves it 



without any difficulty and without ever generating within 
it any bad humors. Whence, following this rule, as I 
have already said, I have constantly been, and am now— 
thank God I— most healthy. 

It is true, however, that besides these two very 
important rules which I have always so carefully ob- 
served, relative to eating and drinking,— namely, to take 
only the quantity which my stomach can easily digest and 
only the kinds that agree with it,— I have also been care- 
ful to guard against great heat and cold, as well as 
extreme fatigue or excesses of any nature; I ^ave never 
allowed my accustomed sleep and rest to be interfered 
with; I have avoided remaining for any length of time in 
places poorly ventilated; and have been careful not to 
expose myself too much to the wind or the sun; for these 
things, too, are great disorders. Yet it is not a very 
difficult matter to avoid them; for, in a being endowed 
with reason, the desire of life and health possesses 
greater weight than the mere pleasure of doing things 
which are known to be hurtful. 

I have also preserved myself, as far as I have been 
able, from those other disorders from which it is more 
difficult to be exempt; I mean melancholy, hatred, and 
the other passions of the soul, which all appear greatly 
to affect the body. However, my efforts in this direc- 
tion have not been so successful as to preserve me wholly; 
since, on more than one occasion, I have been subject to 
either one or the other of these disturbances, not to say 
all of them. Yet even this fact has proved useful to 
me ; for my experience has convinced me that, in reality, 
these disorders have not much power over, nor can they 
do much harm to, the bodies of those whose lives are 
governed by the two rules I have already mentioned 
relative to eating and drinking. So I can say, with 


LOUIS gornabo'b treatise 

truth, that whosoever observes these two principal rules 
can suffer but little from any disorder. 

Galen,* the famous physician, bore testimony to this 
truth long before my time. He asserts that all other 
disorders caused him but very little harm, because he 
had learned to guard against those of excessive eating 
and drinking; and that, for this reason, he was never 
indisposed for more than a day. That this is indeed 
true I can bear living testimony, corroborated by the 
statement of everybody who knows me ; for my friends, 
well aware that I have often suffered exposure to cold, 
heat, and other similar disorders, have also seen me dis- 
turbed in mind on account of various misfortunes that 
have befallen me at different times. Nevertheless, they 
know that these troubles of mine have harmed me but 
little; but they can testify to the considerable damage 
which these very things have brought to others who were 
not followers of the temperate and regular life. 

Among these I may number a brother of mine, and 
several other near relatives ; who, trusting to their good 
constitutions, did not follow the temperate life— a fact 
which was the cause of grave harm to them. Their 
perturbations of mind exercised great influence over 
their bodies; and such was the anxiety and melancholy 
with which they were overwhelmed when they saw me 
involved in certain highly important lawsuits brought 
against me by men of power and position, and so great 
was their fear that I should lose, that they were seized 
with the humor of melancholy, of which the bodies of 
those who live irregularly are always full. This humor 
so embittered their lives, and grew upon them to such 
a degree, that it brought them to the grave before their 

Yet I suffered nothing throughout it all; for, in me, 

♦ Sec Note F 



this humor was not excessive. On the contrary, encour- 
aging myself, I tried to believe that God had permitted 
those lawsuits to be brought against me in order that my 
own strength and courage might better be made known, 
and that I should win them to my own advantage and 
honor; as in fact I eventually did, gaining a glorious 
and profitable victory. And the very great consolation 
of soul I then experienced had, in its turn, no power to 
harm me. 

It is thus clear that neither melancholy nor any 
other disorder can seriously injure bodies governed by 
the orderly and temperate life. Nay, I shall go still 
further, and assert that even accidents have the power 
to do but little harm, or cause but little pain, to the fol- 
lowers of such a life. 

The truth of this statement I learned by my own 
experience at the age of seventy. It happened, one day, 
while driving at a high rate of speed, I met with an acci- 
dent. My carriage was overturned, and was dragged 
quite a distance before the horses could be stopped. 
Being unable to extricate myself, I was very badly hurt 
My head and the rest of my body were painfully bruised, 
while one of my arms and one of my legs received 
especially severe injuries. 

I was brought home, and my family sent immedi- 
ately for the doctors; who, when they had come and 
found me at my advanced age so shaken and in so bad 
a plight, could not help giving their opinion that I would 
die within three days. 

They suggested two things, however, as their only 
hopes for my recovery: one was bleeding, the other was 
purging; in order, as they said, to cleanse my system 
and thus prevent the alteration of the humors, which 
they expected at any moment to become so much dis- 



From the painting by Sir Godfrey Kneller— No. 283, National Portrait Gallery. 


Photograph copyrighted by Walker and Cockerell 


torbed as to produce high fever. I, nevertheless^ con- 
vinced that the regular life I had led for many years 
had united, equalized, and disposed all my humors so 
well that they could not possibly be subject to so great 
alteration, refused either to be bled or to take any medi- 
cine. I merely had my arm and leg straightened, and 
permitted my body to be rubbed with certain oils which 
were recommended by the physicians as appropriate 
under the circumstances. It followed that, without 
using any other kind of remedy and without suffering 
any further ill or change for the worse, I entirely recov- 
ered—a thing, which, while fulfilling my own expecta- 
tions, seemed to my doctors nothing less than miraculous. 

The unavoidable conclusion to be drawn from this 
is, that any man who leads the regular and temperate 
life, not swerving from it in the least degree where his 
nourishment is concerned, can be but little affected by 
otiier disorders or incidental mishaps. Whereas, on the 
other hand, I truly conclude that disorderly habits of 
living are those which are fatal. 

By a recent experience of mine— tiiat is, as late as 
four years ago— this was proved to me unmistakably. 
Having been induced by the advice of my physicians, 
the admonitions of my friends and their loving exhorta- 
tions, to make a change in my manner of living, I f oimd 
this change— consisting in an increase in the ordinary 
quantity of my food— to be, in reality, a disorder of 
much greater importance than might have been expected; 
since it brought on me a most severe illness. As the 
whole event is appropriate here, and because the 
knowledge of it may be of advantage to others, I shall 
now relate it in all its particulars. 

My dearest relatives and friends, who love and 
cherish me devotedly and are inspired by warm and true 



affection, observed how very little I ate, and, in nnison 
with my physicians, told me that the food I took could 
not possibly be sufficient to sustain a man of an age so 
advanced as mine. They argued that I should not only 
preserve, but rather aim to increase, my strength and 
vigor. And as this could only be done by means of 
nourishment, it was absolutely necessary, they said, that 
I should eat rather more abundantiy. 

I, on the other hand, brought forward my reasons 
to the contrary; namely, that nature is satisfied with 
littie; that my spare diet had been found sufficient to 
preserve me in health all these many years; and that, 
with me, this abstemious habit had long since become 
second nature. I maintained, furthermore, that it was 
in harmony with reason tiiat, as my age increased 
and my strength lessened, I should diminish, rather than 
increase, the quantity of my food. This was true; since 
the digestive powers of the stomach were also growing 
weaker in the same proportion as my vigor became 
impaired. Wherefore I could see no reason why I should 
increase my diet. 

To strengthen my argument, I quoted those two 
natural and obviously true proverbs: the one, that 
''Whosoever wishes to eat much must eat WMie''— which 
means simply that the eating of little lengthens a man's 
life, and by living a long time he is enabled to eat a 
great deal; tiie other, that ''The food from which a m^an 
abstains, after he has eaten heartily, is of more benefit 
to him than that which he has eaten.** 

However, neither of these wise sayings, nor any 
other argument I could offer, proved effectual; for my 
friends only pressed me the harder. Now, I did not 
like to appear obstinate or as tiiough I considered myself 
more of a doctor than the very doctors themselves; 



moreover, I especially wished to please my family, who 
desired it very earnestly, believing, as tiiey did, that 
such an increase in my ordinary allowance would be 
beneficial to my strength. So I at last yielded, and con- 
sented to add to the quantity of my food. This increase, 
however, was by only two ounces in weight; so tiiat, 
while, with bread, the yolk of an egg, a little meat, and 
some soup, I had formerly eaten as much as would weigh 
in all exactly twelve ounces, I now went so far as to 
raise the amount to fourteen ounces; and, while I had 
formerly drunk but fourteen ounces of wine, I now began 
to take sixteen ounces. 

The disorder of this increase had, at the end of ten 
days, begun to affect me so much, that, instead of being 
cheerful, as I had ever been, I became melancholy and 
choleric; everything annoyed me; and my mood was so 
wayward that I neither knew what to say to others nor 
what to do with myself. At the end of twelve days I 
was seized with a most violent pain in the side, which 
continued twenty-two hours. This was followed by a 
terrible fever, which lasted thirty-five days and as many 
nights without a moment's interruption; although, to 
tell the truth, it kept constantly diminishing after the 
fifteenth day. Notwithstanding such abatement, how- 
ever, during all that period I was never able to sleep for 
even half of a quarter of an hour; hence, everybody 
believed that I would surely die. However, I recovered 
—God be praised I— solely by returning to my former 
rule of life; although I was then seventy-eight years of 
age, and it was just in the heart of the coldest season of 
a very cold year, and I as frail in body as could be. 

I am firmly convinced that nothing rescued me from 
death but the orderly life which I had observed for so 
many years ; in all of which time no kind of sickness had 



ever visited me, unless I may call by that name some 
slight indisposition lasting a day or two only. The 
steady mle of life I had so long observed had not, 
as I have already said, allowed the generation of any 
evil or excessive humors in my body; or, if any had been 
formed, it had not permitted them to acquire strength 
or to become malignant, as is the case in the bodies of 
old persons who live without restraint. Consequently, 
as in my system there was none of that chronic vicious- 
ness of humors which kills men, but only that new con- 
dition brought about by my recent irregularity, this 
attack of ilbiess— although indeed very serious—was not 
able to cause my death. 

This, and nothing else, was the means of my recov- 
ery; whence we may judge how great are the power and 
virtue of order, and how great is the power of disorder— 
the latter having been able, in a few days, to bring upon 
me a sickness which proved to be so terrible; whereas 
the regular and temperate life had maintained me in per- 
fect health during so many years. And it seems to me 
most reasonable that, if the world is maintained by 
order, and if our life is nothing else— so far as the body 
is concerned— but the harmony and order of the four 
elements, it must follow that only through this same 
order can our life be sustained; while, on the other 
hand, it is ruined by sickness or dissolved by deaths 
according as this order is not observed. It is through 
order that the sciences are more easily mastered; it is 
order that gives the victory to armies ; and, finally, it is 
due to order that the stability of families, of cities, and 
even of governments, is maintained. 

Therefore I conclude that orderly living is tiie most 
positive law and foundation of a long and healthy life. 
We may say it is the true and only medicine; and who- 



ever considers all this deliberately must declare it is 
indeed so. 

When a physician pays a visit to a sick man, he pre- 
scribes this as the very first condition of recovery, nrging 
him, above all things, to live the orderly life. In like 
manner, when he bids good-bye to his patient upon his 
recovery, he recommends, as a means of preserving 
restored health, that he continue this orderly life. And 
there is no doubt that if the one so advised were to act 
accordingly, he would avoid all sickness in the future; 
because a well-regulated life removes the causes of 
disease. Thus, for the remainder of his days, he would 
have no further need either of doctors or of medicines. 

Moreover, by applying his mind to this matter which 
should so deeply concern him, he would become his own 
physician, and, indeed, the only perfect one he could 
have; for it is true that ''-4 man cannot be a perfect 
physician of any one save of himself alone/' 

The reason of this is that any man may, by dint of 
experimenting, acquire a perfect knowledge of his own 
constitution and of its most hidden qualities, and find 
out what food and what drink, and what quantities of 
each, will agree with his stomach. It is impossible to have 
equally accurate knowledge of these things in another 
person; since it is only with difficulty that we may dis- 
cover them in ourselves. And to learn them in our own 
cases, great attention, considerable time, and much study 
are required. Nor must we overlook the fact that 
various experiments are absolutely necessary; for there 
is not so great a variety of features as there is diversity 
of temperaments and stomachs among men. 

Who would believe, for instance, that wine over a 
year old would be hurtful to my stomach, while new wine 
would be suitable to itt and that pepper, which is com- 



monly considered a heating spice, wotdd not act upon 
me as such, but that cinnamon would warm and help mef 
What physician could have informed me of these two 
hidden qualities of my nature; since I myself, after a 
long course of observation, have barely been able to note 
and find themt 

Therefore, I say again, from all these reasons it 
follows that it is impossible for anyone to be a perfect 
physician of another. Since, then, a man can have no 
better doctor than himself, and no better medicine than 
the temperate life, he should by all means embrace that 

I do not mean to say, however, that in the knowledge 
and treatment of the diseases incurred by those who do 
not lead orderly lives, there is no need of the physician, 
or that he should not be valued highly. For, if a friend 
brings comfort when he comes to us in time of sickness, 
—though his visit be merely to manifest sympathy in 
our suffering and to encourage us to hope for recovery,— 
how much the more ought we to appreciate the physician 
who is a friend visiting us that he may be of service, 
and who promises to restore our health! Yet, when it 
comes to a question of preserving health, my opinion is 
that we should take, as our proper physician, the regular 
and temperate life. For, as we have seen, it is the true 
medicine of nature and best suited to man; it keeps him 
in health, even though he be of an unfortunate constitu- 
tion; it enables him to retain his strength to the age of 
a hundred years or more ; and, finally, it does not suffer 
him to pass away through sickness or by any alteration 
of the humors, but simply by the coining to an end of 
the radical moisture, which is exhausted at the last. 
Learned men have often asserted that similar effects 
could be obtained by means of drinkable gold or the 



"elixir of life*'; yet, though they have thus been sought 
by many, who have found them! 

Let us be truthful. Men are, as a rule, very sensual 
and intemperate, and wish to gratify their appetites and 
give themselves up to the commission of iimumerable 
disorders. When, seeing that they cannot escape suffer- 
ing the unavoidable consequence of such intemperance 
as often as they are guilty of it, they say— by way of 
excuse— that it is preferable to live ten years less and 
to enjoy one's life. They do not pause to consider 
what immense importance ten years more of life, and 
especially of healthy life, possess when we have reached 
mature age, the time, indeed, at which men appear to 
the best advantage in learning and virtue— two things 
which can never reach their perfection except with time. 
To- mention nothing else at present, I shall only say that, 
in literature and in the sciences, the majority of the best 
and most celebrated works we possess were written 
when their authors had attained ripe age, and during 
those same ten latter years for which some men, in order 
that they may gratify their appetites, say they do not 

Be this as it may, I have not chosen to imitate them; 
on the contrary, I have chosen to live these ten years. 
Had I not done so, I should never have written the 
treatises, which, as I have been alive and well, I have 
been able to write during the last ten years; and that 
they will prove useful I have no doubt 

Furthermore, the aforesaid followers of sensuality 
will tell you that the temperate and orderly life is an 
impossible one. To which I answer: Galen, great as a 
physician, led it, and chose it as the best medicine. So, 
likewise, did Plato, Cicero, Isocrates, and many other 
famous men in times x)ast; whose names, lest I grow 



tedious, I shall forbear to mentioiL In our own time, 
we have seen Pope Paul Famese [1468-1549] and Car- 
dinal Bembo [1470-1547] lead this life, and for this 
reason attain great age; the same may be said of our 
two Doges,* Lando [1462-1545] and Donato [1468-1553]. 
Besides these, we might mention many others in humbler 
states and conditions, not only in the cities, but in the 
country also; for in every place there are to be found 
those who follow the temperate life, and always to their 
own considerable advantage. 

Seeing, therefore, that it has been practiced in the 
past, and that many are now practicing it, the temperate 
life is clearly proved to be one easily followed; and all 
the more so by reason of the fact that it does not call for 
any great exertion. Indeed— as is stated by the above- 
mentioned Cicero and by all who follow it— the only 
difficulty, if any there be, consists in making a beginning. 

Plato, himself living the temperate life, nevertheless 
declares that a man in the service of the State cannot 
lead it; because he is often compelled to suffer heat and 
cold and fatigues of various kinds, as well as other 
hardships, all contrary to the temperate life, and in 
themselves disorders. Yet, I repeat the assertion I have 
already made, that these disorders are not of any great 
consequence, and are powerless to cause grievous sick- 
ness or death, provided he who is obliged to suffer them 
leads an abstemious life, and is never guilty of any 
excess in eating or drinking. Excess is a thing which 
any man, even one who is in the service of the State, 
can very well avoid, and must, indeed, necessarily avoid; 
since by so doing he may rest assured, either that he will 
never incur those ills into which it would otherwise be 
easy for him to fall while committing disorders which 
are brought upon him in the discharge of his duties, or 

* Sec Note G 



that he will be able the more easily and quickly to free 
himself of those ills, should he, perchance, be overtaken 
by them. 

Here one might object—as some actually do— that a 
man accustomed to lead the temperate life, having always, 
while in sound health, partaken of food proper for sick 
persons, and in small quantities only, has nothing left 
to fall back upon in time of sickness. 

To this objection I shall answer, in the first place, 
that Nature, being desirous to preserve man as long as 
possible, teaches him what rule to follow in time of ill- 
ness; for she immediately deprives the sick of their 
appetite in order that they may eat but little— for with 
little, as it has already been said. Nature is content. 
Consequently, whether the sick man, up to the time of 
his illness, has led the orderly or a disorderly life, it is 
necessary that he should then partake of such food only 
as is suited to his condition, and, in quantity, less of it 
than he was wont to take when in health. Should he, 
w^hen ill, continue to eat the same amount as when 
in health, he would surely die; while, were he to eat 
more, he would die all the sooner. For his natural 
powers, already oppressed with sickness, would thereby 
be burdened beyond endurance, having had forced upon 
them a quantity of food greater than they could support 
under the circumstances. A reduced quantity is, in my 
opinion, all that is required to sustain the invalid. 

Another answer to this objection— and a better 
one— is, that he who leads the temperate life can never 
fall sick, or at least can do so only rarely; and his 
indisposition lasts but a very short while. For, by 
living temperately, he removes all the causes of illness ; 
and, having removed these, he thereby removes the 
effects. So the man who lives the orderly life should 



have no fear of sickness; for surely he has no reason 
to fear an effect, the cause of which is under his own 

Now, since the orderly life is, as we have seen, so 
useful, so potent, so beautiful, and so holy, it should be 
embraced and followed by every rational being; and this 
all the more from the fact that it is a life very easy to 
lead, and one that does not conflict with the career of 
any condition of man. 

No one need feel obliged to confine himself to the 
small quantity to which I limit myself; nor to abstain 
from fruit, fish, and other things which I do not take. 
For I eat but little; and my reason in doing so is that 
I find a little sufficient for my small and weak stomach. 
Moreover, as fruit, fish, and similar foods disagree with 
me, I do not use them. Persons, however, with whom 
these do agree may— nay, should— partake of them; for 
to such they are by no means forbidden. That which 
is forbidden to them and to everybody else, is to partake 
of food, even though it be of the kind suited to them, in 
a quantity so large that it cannot be easily digested; and 
the same is true with regard to drink. But should there 
be a man to whom no kind of food is harmful, he, 
obviously, would not be subject to the rule of quality, 
but must needs Iregard only that of quantity— an observ- 
ance which becomes a very easy matter. 

I do not wish to be told here that among those who 
lead the most irregular lives there are men, who, in spite 
of this fact, reach, healthy and robust, those furthest 
limits of life attained by the temperate; for this argu- 
ment is grounded upon a position uncertain and danger- 
ous, and upon a fact, moreover, which is of so rare 
occurrence that, when it does occur, it appears more a 
miracle than a natural result. Hence it should not per- 



suade us to live disorderly lives ; for Nature was merely 
unwontedly liberal to those irregular livers, and very 
few of us can, or should, hope that she will be as bounti- 
ful to us. 

He who, trusting to his youth or his strong constitu- 
tion and perfect stomach, will not take proper care of 
himself, loses a great deal, and every day is exposed, in 
consequence of his intemperate life, to sickness and even 
death. For this reason I maintain that an old man who 
lives regularly and temperately, even though he be of 
poor constitution, is more likely to live than is a young 
man of perfect health if addicted to disorderly habits. 

There is no doubt, of course, that a man blessed 
with a strong constitution will be able to preserve him- 
self longer by living the temperate life than he who has 
a poor one; and it is also true that God and Nature can 
cause men to be brought into the world with so perfect 
constitutions that they will live for many years in health, 
without observing this strict rule of life. A case of 
this kind is that of the Procurator* Thomas Contarini 
of Venice [1454-1554], and another is that of the Knight 
Anthony Capodivacca of Padua [1465!-1555]. But such 
instances are so rare that, it is safe to say, there is not 
more than one man in a hundred thousand of whom it 
will prove true. 

The universal rule is that they who wish not only 
constantly to enjoy perfect health and to attain their 
full limit of life, but finally to pass away without pain 
or difficulty and of mere exhaustion of the radical 
moisture, must lead the temperate life; for upon this 
condition, and no other, will they enjoy the fruits of 
such a life— fruits almost innumerable, and each one to 
be infinitely prized. For as sobriety keeps the humors 
of the body pure and mild, so, likewise, does it prevent 

* Sec Note H 



fumes from arising from the stomach to the head; and 
the brain of him who lives in this manner is, as a result, 
constantly in a clear condition, permitting him to main- 
tain entire the use of reason. Thus, to his own extreme 
comfort and contentment, is he enabled to rise above 
the low and mean considerations of this world to the 
high and beautiful contemplation of things divine. In 
this manner he considers, knows, and understands, as he 
never would have otherwise done, how great are the 
power, the wisdom, and the goodness of God. Descend- 
ing thence to the realms of Nature, he recognizes in her 
the daughter of the same God; and he sees and touches 
that which at any other age of his life, or with a less 
purified mind, he could never have seen or touched. 

Then, indeed, does he fully realize the ugliness of 
vice, into which those persons fall who have not learned 
to control their passions or to bridle those three importu- 
nate desires which seem, all three together, to be bom 
with us in order to keep us forever troubled and dis- 
turbed—the desires of carnal pleasures, of honors, and 
of worldly possessions. These lusts appear to increase 
with age in those who are not followers of the temperate 
life ; because, when passing through the years of earlier 
manhood, they did not relinquish, as they should have 
done, either sensuality or appetite, to embrace in their 
stead reason and self-control— virtues which followers 
of the temperate life never abandoned in their years of 

On the contrary, these more fortunate men, well 
knowing that such passions and desires are irrational, 
and having given themselves wholly to reason, were freed 
both of their tyranny and at the same time of all other 
vices, and drawn, instead, to virtue and good works. 
By this means, from the vicious men they had once been, 



they became true and upright. At length, in process of 
time and owing to extreme age, their dissolution and 
close of life are near at hand. Yet, conscious that they 
have, through God's special grace, abandoned the ways 
of vice and ever afterward followed those of virtue, 
and firmly hoping, moreover, through the merits of 
Jesus Christ our Redeemer, to die in His grace, they 
are not saddened by the thought of the approach of 
death, which they know to be unavoidable. 

This is especially the case when, loaded with 
honors and satiated with life, they perceive they have 
reached that age which scarcely any man— among the 
many thousands bom into this world— who follows a 
different mode of living, ever attains. And the inevi- 
table approach of death grieves them so much the less 
in that it does not come suddenly or unexpectedly, with 
a troublesome and bitter alteration of the humors, and 
with sharp pains and cruel fever; but it comes most 
quietly and mildly. For, in them, the end is caused 
merely by the failure of the radical moisture; which, 
consumed by degrees, finally becomes completely 
exhausted, after the manner of a lamp which gradually 
fails. Hence they pass away peacefully, and without any 
kind of sickness, from this earthly and mortal life to 
the heavenly and eternal one. 

O holy and truly happy Temperate life, most 
worthy to be looked upon as such by all menl even as 
the oilier, disorderly and so contrary to thee, is sinful 
and wretched— as those who will but stop to reflect upon 
the opposite effects of both must clearly see. Thy 
lovely name alone should be sufficient to bring men to 
a knowledge of thee; for thy name, The Orderly and 
Temperate life, is beautiful to speak; while how 
offensive are the words disorder and intemperance I 



Indeed^ between the very mention of these two opposites 
lies the same difference as between those other two, 
angel and devil. 

I have so far given the reasons for which I aban- 
doned disorder and devoted myself wholly to the tem- 
perate life; also the manner in which I went about it 
that I might accomplish my end; together with the sub- 
sequent effects of this change; and, finally, I have 
attempted to describe the advantages and blessings which 
the temperate life bestows on those who follow it. 

And now, since some sensual and unreasonable men 
pretend that long life is not a blessing or a thing to be 
desired, but that the existence of a man after he has 
passed the age of sixty-five cannot any longer be called 
a living life, but rather should be termed a dead one, I 
shall plainly show they are much mistaken; for I 
have an ardent desire that every man should strive to 
attain my age, in order that he may enjoy what I have 
found— and what others, too, will find— to be the most 
beautiful period of life. 

For this purpose I wish to speak here of the pas- 
times and pleasures which I enjoy at this advanced sea- 
son of life. I desire, in this manner, openly to bear 
witness to all mankind— and every person who knows 
me will testify to the truth of what I say— that the life 
which I am now living is a most vital one, and by no 
means a dead one ; and that it is deemed, by many, a life 
as full of happiness as this world can give. 

Those who know me well will give this testimony, 
in the first place, because they see, and not without the 
greatest admiration and amazement, how strong I am; 
that I am able to mount my horse without assistance; 
and with what ease and agility I can not only ascend a 
flight of stairs, but also climb a whole hill on foot. 



They also see how I am ever cheerful, happy, and con- 
tented—free from all perturbations of the soul and from 
every vexatious thought; instead of these, joy and peace 
have fixed their abode in my heart, and never depart 
from it Moreover, my friends know how I spend my 
time, and that it is always in such a manner that life 
does not grow tedious to me; they see that there is no 
single hour of it that I am not able to pass with the 
greatest possible delight and pleasure. 

Frequently I have the opportunity to converse with 
many honorable gentlemen; among them, a number who 
are renowned for their intellect and refinement, and dis- 
tinguished by their literary attainments, or are of excel- 
lence in some other way. When their conversation fails 
me, I enjoy the time in reading some good book. Hav- 
ing read as much as I care to, I write; endeavoring in 
this, as in what other manner soever I may, to be of 
assistance to others, as far as is in my power. 

All these things I do with the greatest ease and at 
my leisure, at their proper seasons, in my own residence; 
which, besides being situated in the most beautiful quar- 
ter of this noble and learned city of Padua, is, in itself, 
really handsome and worthy of praise— truly a home, 
the like of which is no longer built in our day. It is so 
arranged that in one part of it I am protected against 
the great heat of summer, and in the other part against 
the extreme cold of winter ; for I built the house accord- 
ing to the principles of architecture, which teach us how 
that should be done. In addition to the mansion, I 
enjoy my various gardens, beautified by running streams 
—retreats wherein I always find some pleasant occupa- 
tion for my time. 

I have, besides this, another mode of recreating 
myself. Every year, in April and May, as well as in 



September and October, I spend a few days at a conntry- 
seat of mine, situated in the most desirable part of the 
Enganean Hills.* It is adorned with beautiful gardens 
and fountains; and I especially delight in its extremely 
comfortable and fine dwelling. In this spot I also take 
part, at times, in some easy and pleasant hunting, such 
as is suited to my age. 

For as many days again, I enjoy my villa in the 
plain. It is very beautiful, both on account of its fine 
streets converging into a large and handsome square,— 
in the center of which stands the church, a structure well 
befitting the place and much honored,— as also because 
it is divided by a large and rapid branch of the river 
Brenta, on either side of which spread large tracts of 
land, all laid out in fertile and carefully cultivated fields. 
This district is now— God be praised!— exceedingly well 
populated; for it is, indeed, a very different place from 
what it was formerly, having once been marshy and of 
unwholesome atmosphere— a home fit rather for snakes 
than for human beings. But, after I had drained off 
the waters, the air became healthful and people flocked 
thither from every direction; the number of the inhabit- 
ants began to multiply exceedingly; and the country was 
brought to the perfect condition in which it is to-day. 
Hence I can say, with truth, that in this place I have 
given to God an altar, a temple, and souls to adore 
Him. All these are things which afford me infinite 
pleasure, solace, and contentment every time I return 
thither to see and enjoy them. 

At those same times every year, I go, as well, to 
revisit some of the neighboring cities, in order that I 
may enjoy the society of those of my friends whom I 
find there ; for I derive great pleasure from conversing 
with them. I meet, in their company, men distinguished 

♦ Sec Note I 



for their intellect— architects, painters, sculptors, musi- 
cians, and agriculturists; for our times have certainly 
produced a considerable number of these. I behold, for 
the first time, their more recent works, and see again 
their former ones; and I always learn things which it 
is agreeable and pleasing to me to know. I see the 
palaces, the gardens, the antiquities, and, together with 
these, the squares, the churches, and the fortresses; for 
I endeavor to omit nothing from which I can derive 
either delight or information. 

My greatest enjoyment, in the course of my journeys 
going and returning, is the contemplation of the beauty 
of the country and of the places through which I travel. 
Some of these are in the plains; others on the hills, near 
rivers or fountains; and all are made still more beauti- 
ful by the presence of many charming dwellings sur- 
rounded by delightful gardens. 

Nor are these my diversions and pleasures rendered 
less sweet and less precious through the failing of my 
sight or my hearing, or because any one of my senses is 
not perfect; for they are all— thank God I— most perfect. 
This is true especially of my sense of taste; for I now 
find more true relish in the simple food I eat, whereso- 
ever I may chance to be, than I formerly found in the 
most delicate dishes at the time of my intemperate life. 
Neither does the change of bed affect me in the slightest 
degree; for I always sleep soundly and quietly in what 
place soever I may happen to be— nothing disturbs me, 
so that my dreams are always happy and pleasant. 

With the greatest delight and satisfaction, also, do 
I behold the success of an undertaking highly important 
to our State; namely, the fitting for cultivation of its 
waste tracts of country, numerous as they were. This 
improvement was commenced at my suggestion; yet I 


The ABt OF LiviNG jjbi^Qt 

had scarcely ventured to hope that I should live to see 
it, knowing, as I do, that republics are slow to begin 
enterprises of great importance. Nevertheless, I have 
lived to see it And I was myself present with the 
members of the committee appointed to superintend the 
work, for two whole months, at the season of the greatest 
heat of summer, in those swampy places; nor was I 
ever disturbed either by fatigue or by any hardship 
I was obliged to incur. So great is the power of the 
orderly life which accompanies me wjieresoever I 
may go! 

Furthermore, I cherish a firm hope that I shall live 
to witness not only the beginning, but also the comple- 
tion, of another enterprise, the success of which is no 
less important to our beloved Venice; namely, the pro- 
tection of our estuary, or lagoon, that strongest and 
most wonderful bulwark of my dear country. The pres- 
ervation of this— and be it said not through self-com- 
placency, but wholly and purely for truth's sake— has 
been advised by me repeatedly, both by word of mouth 
and by carefully written reports to our Republic; for as 
I owe to her, by right, the fullest means of assistance and 
benefit that I can give, so also do I most fondly desire to 
see her enjoy prolonged and enduring happiness, and to 
know that her security is assured. 

These are the true and important recreations, these 
the comforts and pastimes, of my old age, which is much 
more to be prized than the old age or even the youth of 
other men; since it is free, by the grace of God, from all 
the perturbations of the soul and the infirmities of the 
body, and is not subject to any of those troubles which 
woefully torment so many young men and so many 
languid and utterly worn-out old men. 

If to great and momentous things it be proper to 



compare lesser ones, or rather those, I should say, which 
are by many considered as hardly worthy of notice, I 
shall mention, as another fruit which I have gathered 
from the temperate life, that at my present age of eighty- 
three I have been able to compose a delightful comedy, 
fnll of innocent mirth and pleasant sayings— a manner of 
poem, which, as we all know, is usually the fruit and 
production of youth only, just as tragedy is the work of 
old age ; the former, because of its grace and joyousness, 
is more in harmony with the early years of life, while the 
melancholy character of the latter is better suited to old 
age. Now, if that good old man, a Greek and a poet 
[Sophocles], was so highly commended for having written 
a tragedy at the age of seventy-three, and was, by reason 
of this deed, regarded as vigorous and sound minded,— 
although tragedy, as I have just said, is a sad and 
melancholy form of poetry,— why should I be deemed 
less fortunate or less hale than he, when I have, at an age 
greater than his by ten years, written a comedy, which, as 
everybody knows, is a cheerful and witty kind of com- 
position! Assuredly, if I am not an unfair judge of my- 
self, I must believe that I am now more vigorous and 
more cheerful than was that poet when burdened with ten 
years less of life. 

In order that nothing be wanting to the fullness of 
my consolation, to render my great age less irksome, or to 
increase my happiness, I am given the additional comfort 
of a species of immortality in the succession of my 
descendants. For, as often as I return home, I find 
awaiting me not one or two, but eleven, grandchildren, all 
the offspring of one father and mother, and all blessed 
with perfect health; the eldest is eighteen years of age, 
the youngest, two ; and, as far as can now be judged, all 
are fond of study and inclined to good habits. Among 



the younger ones, I always enjoy some one as my little 
jester; for, truly, between the ages of three and five, the 
little folks are natural merrymakers. The older children 
I look upon as, in a certain way, my companions ; and, as 
Nature has blessed them with perfect voices, I am 
delighted with their singing, and with their playing on 
various instruments. Indeed, I often join in their 
singing; for my voice is now better, clearer, and more 
sonorous than it ever was before. 

Such, then, are the pastimes of my old age ; and from 
these it may readily be seen that the life I am leading is 
alive and not dead, as those persons say who are ignorant 
of what they are speaking. To whom, in order that I may 
make it clearly understood how I regard other people's 
manner of living, I truly declare that I would not be 
willing to exchange either my life or my great age with 
that of any young man, tiiough he be of excellent 
constitution, who leads a sensual life ; for I well know that 
such a one is, as I have already stated, exposed every 
day— nay, every hour— to a thousand kinds of infirmity 
and death. 

This is a fact so obviously clear that it has no need of 
proof; for I remember right well what I used to do when 
I was like them. I know how very thoughtless that age 
is wont to be, and how young men, incited by their inward 
fire, are inclined to be daring and confident of themselves 
in their actions, and how hopeful they are in every 
circumstance ; as much on account of the little experience 
they have of things past, as because of the certainty they 
feel of living long in the future. Thus it is that they 
boldly expose themselves to every kind of peril. Putting 
aside reason, and giving up the ruling of themselves to 
sensuality, they seek with eagerness for means by which 
to gratify every one of their appetites, without perceiving 
—unfortunate wretches !— that they are bringing upon 



themselves the very things which are most unwelcome: 
not only sickness, as I have said many times, but also 

Of these evils, sickness is grievous and troublesome 
to suffer; and the other, which is death, is altogether 
unbearable and frightful— certainly to any man who has 
given himself up a prey to sensuality, and especially to 
young people, to whom it seems that they lose too much in 
dying before their time. And it is indeed frightful to 
those who reflect upon the errors with which this mortal 
life of ours is filled, and upon the vengeance which the 
justice of God is liable to take in the eternal punishment 
of the wicked. 

I, on the contrary, old as I am, find myself —thanks 
always to Almighty God!— entirely free of both the one 
and the other of tiiese two cares: of the one, sickness, 
because I know to a certainty I cannot ever fall sick, the 
holy medicine of the temperate life having removed from 
me forever all the causes of illness; and of the other, 
namely, of death, because I have learned, through a 
practice of many years, to give full play to reason. 
Wherefore I not only deem it wrong to fear that which 
cannot be avoided, but I also firmly hope that, when the 
hour of my passing away is come, I shall feel the 
consoling power of the grace of Jesus Christ. 

Moreover, although I am fully aware that I, like 
everybody else, must come to that end which is inevi- 
table, yet it is still so far away that I cannot discern it. 
For I am certain there is no death in store for me 
save that of mere dissolution; since the regular method of 
my life has closed all other avenues to the approach of 
death, and has prevented the humors of my body from 
waging against me any other war than that arising from 
the elements of which my body was originally formed. 



I am not so unwise as not to know that, having been 
bom, I must die. Yet beautiful and desirable, indeed, is 
that death which Nature provides for us by way of the 
dissolution of the elements; both because she herself, 
having formed the bond of life, finds more easily the way 
to loose it, and also because she delays the end longer 
than would the violence of disease. Such is the death, 
which, without playing the poet, alone deserves the name 
of death, as arising from Nature's laws. It cannot be 
otherwise ; for it comes only after a very long span of life, 
and then solely as the result of extreme weakness. Little 
by little, very slowly, men are reduced to such a state that 
they find themselves no longer able to walk, and scarcely 
to reason; moreover, they become blind, deaf, and bent, 
and afflicted with every other kind of infirmity. But, so 
far as I am concerned, I feel certain that not only will my 
end, by the blessing of God, be very different, but also that 
my soul, which has so agreeable a habitation in my body, 
—where it finds nothing but peace, love, and harmony, not 
only between the humors, but also between the senses and 
reason,— rejoices and abides in it in a state of such com- 
plete contentment, that it is only reasonable to believe it 
will require much time and the weight of many years to 
force it to leave. Wherefore I may fairly conclude 
there is yet in store for me a long continuance of perfect 
health and strength, wherein I may enjoy this beautiful 
world, which is indeed beautiful to those who know how 
to make it so for themselves, as I have done. And I 
treasure the hope that, through the grace of God, I shall 
also be able to enjoy the other world beyond. All this is 
solely by means of virtue, and of the holy life of order 
which I adopted when I became the friend of reason and 
the enemy of sensuality and appetite— an adoption which 
may easily be made by any man who wishes to live as 
becomes a man. 



NoWy if the temperate life is such a happy one, if its 
name is so beautiful and lovable, if the possession of it 
is so certain and so secure, there is nothing left for me to 
do except to entreat— since by oratorical persuasion I 
cannot attain my desire— every man endowed with gentle 
soul and gifted with rational faculties, to embrace this the 
richest treasure of life ; for as it surpasses all the other 
riches and treasures of this world by giving us a long and 
healthy life, so it deserves to be loved, sought after, and 
preserved always by all. 

Divine Sobriety, pleasing to God, the friend of 
nature, the daughter of reason, the sister of virtue, the 
companion of temperate living; modest, agreeable, 
contented with little, orderly and refined in all her 
operations ! From her, as from a root, spring life, health, 
cheerfulness, industry, studiousness, and all those actions 
which are worthy of a true and noble soul. All laws, both 
divine and human, favor her. From her presence flee- 
as so many clouds from the sunshine— reveling, dis- 
orders, gluttony, excessive humors, indispositions, fevers, 
pains, and the dangers of death. Her beauty attracts 
every noble mind. Her security promises to all her fol- 
lowers a graceful and enduring life. Her happiness 
invites each one, with but little trouble, to the acquisition 
of her victories. And, finally, she pledges herself to be a 
kind and benevolent guardian of the life of every human 
being— of the rich as well as of the poor; of man as of 
woman; of the old as of the young. To the rich she 
teaches modesty, to the poor thrift; to man continence, to 
woman chastity; to the old how to guard against death, 
and to the young how to hope more firmly and more 
securely for length of days. Sobriety purifies the senses ; 
lightens the body; quickens the intellect; cheers the mind; 
makes the memory tenacious, the motions swift, the 



actions ready and prompt. Through her, the soul, ahnost 
delivered of its earthly burden, enjoys to a great extent 
its liberty; the vital spirits move softly in the arteries; 
the blood courses through the veins ; the heat of the body, 
always mild and temperate, produces mild and temperate 
effects ; and, finally, all our faculties preserve, with most 
beautiful order, a joyous and pleasing harmony. 

O most holy and most innocent Sobriety, the sole 
refreshment of nature, the loving mother of human life, 
the true medicine both of the soul and of the body; how 
much should men praise and thank thee for thy courteous 
gifts ! Thou givest them the means of preserving life in 
health, that blessing than which it did not please God we 
should have a greater in this world— life and existence, so 
naturally prized, so willingly guarded by every living 
creature 1 

As it is not my intention to make, at this time, a 
panegyric on this rare and excellent virtue, and in order 
that I may be moderate, even in its regard, I shall bring 
this treatise to a close ; not that infinitely more might not 
yet be said in its behalf than I have said already, but 
because it is my wish to postpone the remainder of its 
praises to another occasion. 



Written at the Age of Eighty-six 

Wherein me aumor njrmer dwells upon the vital neces- 
sity of temperate and regular habits of life as 
the onlv means of securing or 
preserving perfect health 

nY treatise, **The Temperate Life/' has begun, as I 
desired it should, to render great service to many 
of those persons bom with weak constitutions, 
who, for this reason, feel so very sick whenever they 
commit the slightest excess, that they could not possibly 
feel worse— a thing, which, it must be allowed, does not 
happen to those who are born with robust constitutions. 
A number of these delicate persons, having read the 
above-mentioned treatise, have commenced to follow the 
regular mode of life therein recommended by me, con- 
vinced by experience of its beneficial influence. 

And now, in like manner, I desire to benefit those 
fortunately bom with strong constitutions, who, relying 
too much upon that fact, lead irregular lives; in conse- 



quence of which, by the time they reach the age of sixty 
or thereabout, they become afflicted with various distress- 
ing ills. Some suffer with the gout, some with pains in the 
side, and others with pains in the stomach or with other 
complaints; yet with none of these would they ever be 
troubled were they to lead the temperate life. And, as 
they now die of these infirmities before reaching their 
eightieth year, they would, in the contrary case, live to 
the age of one hundred, the term of life granted by God, 
and by our mother Nature, to us her children; for it 
is but reasonable to believe the wish of this excellent 
mother is that every one of us should attain that natural 
limit, in order to enjoy the blessings of every period of 

Our birth is subject to the revolutions of the heavens, 
which have great power over it, especially with regard to 
the formation of good and bad constitutions. This is a 
condition which Nature cannot alter; for, if she could, she 
would provide that all be bom with robust constitutions. 
She hopes, however, that man, being gifted with intellect 
and reason, will himself supply by art that which the 
heavens have denied him; and that, by means of the 
temperate life, he may succeed in freeing himself of his 
bad constitution, and be enabled to enjoy a long life in 
the possession of unvarying perfect health. And there 
is no doubt that man can, by means of art, free himself 
partially from the control of the heavens, the common 
opinion being that, while they influence, they do not 
compel us. Hence have we that saying of the learned: 
^^The wise man has power over the stars/ ^ 

I was bom with a very choleric disposition, insomuch 
that it was impossible for any person to deal with me. 
But I recognized the fact, and reflected that a wrathful 
man is no less than insane at times ; that is to say, when 



he is under the sway of his furious passions, he is devoid 
of both intellect and reason. I resolved, through the 
exercise of reason, to rid myself of my passionate 
temper; and I succeeded so well that now— though, as I 
have said, I am naturally inclined to anger— I never allow 
myself to give way to it, or, at most, only in a slight 

Any man, who, by nature, is of a bad constitution, 
may similarly, through the use of reason and the help of 
the temperate life, enjoy perfect health to a very great 
age; just as I have done, although my constitution was 
naturally so wretched that it seemed impossible I should 
live beyond the age of forty. Whereas, I am now in my 
eighty-sixth year, full of health and strength ; and, were 
it not for the long and severe illnesses with which I was 
visited so frequently during my youth and which were so 
serious that the physicians at times despaired of saving 
me, I should have hoped to reach the above-mentioned 
term of a hundred years. But, through those illnesses, I 
lost a large part of my radical moisture; and, as this loss 
can never be repaired, reason teaches that it will be im- 
possible for me to reach the extreme term. Therefore, as 
I shall show later on, I never give the matter a thought. 
It is quite enough for me that I have lived forty-six years 
longer than I could reasonably have expected; and that, 
at such an advanced age as mine, all my senses and 
organs remain in perfect condition— even my teeth, my 
voice, my memory, and my heart And as for my brain, 
it, especially, is more active now than it ever was. Nor do 
these powers suffer any decline with the increase of years 
—a blessing to be attributed solely to the fact of my 
increasing the temperateness of my life. 

For, as my years multiply, I lessen the quantity of 
my food; since, indeed, this decrease is absolutely neces- 



sary and cannot be avoided. We cannot live forever; 
and, as the end of life draws near, man is reduced by 
degrees to that state in which he is no longer able to eat 
anything at all, save it may be to swallow, and that with 
difficulty, the yolk of an egg each day. Thus, as I am 
confident I shall do, he closes his career by mere dis- 
solution of the elements and without any pain or illness. 
This, certainly a most desirable lot, is one that will be 
granted to all, of what degree or condition soever, who 
lead the temperate life, whether they occupy a high 
position, or that of the middle class, or are found in the 
humblest ranks of life ; for we all belong to one species, 
and are composed of the same four elements. 

And, since a long and healthy life is a blessing to be 
highly valued by man, as I shall hereafter explain, I 
conclude he is in duty bound to do all in his power to 
attain it. Nor should any hope to enjoy this blessing of 
longevity without the means of the temperate life, even 
though they may have heard it said that some who did 
not live temperately, but, on the contrary, ate much of 
every kind of food and drank large quantities of wine, 
have lived, in the enjoyment of health, to see their 
hundredth year. For, in holding out to themselves the 
hope that this good fortune will, in like manner, be 
vouchsafed to them also, they make two mistakes : in the 
first place, there is scarcely one man in a hundred 
thousand, who, living such a life, ever attains that' 
happiness ; and, secondly, the intemperate sicken and die 
in consequence of their manner of living, and can never 
be sure of death without ills or infirmity. 

Therefore, the only mode of living that will render 
you secure in the hope of long years in health consists in 
your adopting, at least after the age of forty, the 
temperate life. This is not difficult to observe; since so 



many in the past, as history informs us, have observed it; 
and many, of whom I am one, are doing so at the present 
time--and we are all men; and man, being a rational 
animal, does much as he wills to do. The orderly and 
temperate life consists solely in the observance of two 
rules relative to the quality and the quantity of our food. 
The first, which regards quality, consists in our eating 
and drinking only such things as agree with the stomach; 
while the latter, which relates to quantity, consists in our 
using only such an amount of them as can be easily 
digested. Every man, by the time he has reached the age 
of forty, fifty, or, at any rate, sixty years, ought surely 
to be familiar with the conditions relating to the quality 
and quantity of food suited to his individual constitution; 
and he who observes these two rules, lives the orderly 
and temperate life— a life which has so much virtue and 
power that it renders the humors of the body most 
perfect, harmonious, and united. Indeed, they are 
brought to so satisfactory a condition that it is impossible 
they should ever be disturbed or altered by any form of 
disorder which we may incur, such as suffering extreme 
heat or cold, extraordinary fatigue, loss of customary 
sleep, or any other disorder— unless carried to the last 

In a word, the humors of the body, if it be governed 
by these two excellent rules relative to eating and 
drinking, resist weakening changes; thus fever, from 
which proceeds untimely death, is made impossible. It 
would seem, then, that every man should observe the 
orderly life; for it is beyond doubt that whoever does not 
follow it, but lives a disorderly and intemperate life, is, on 
account of excessive eating and drinking as well as of 
each and every one of the other innumerable disorders, 
constantly exposed to the danger of sickness and of death. 



I admit it to be quite true that even those who are 
faithful to the two rules in regard to eating and drinking, 
—the observance of which constitutes the orderly and 
temperate life,— may, if exposed to some of the other dis- 
orders, be ailing for a day or two ; but their indisposition 
will never be able to cause fever. They may, likewise, be 
influenced by the revolutions of the heavens. But neither 
the heavens, nor those disorders, are capable of disturb- 
ing the humors of those who follow the temperate life. 
This statement is but conformable to reason and nature ; 
since the disorders of eating and drinking are internal, 
while all others are external only. 

But there are persons, who, notwithstanding they 
are advanced in years, are none the less sensual. These 
maintain that neither the quantity nor the quality of their 
food or drink in any way injures them; therefore they 
use, without discrimination, large quantities of different 
viands, and are equally indiscreet with regard to drink, 
as if ignorant in what region of the body the stomach is 
situated. Thus they give proof of their gross sensuality 
and of the fact that they are the friends of gluttony. To 
these be it set forth, that what they assert is not possible 
according to nature; for whoever is bom must, neces- 
sarily, bring into this world with him either a warm, or 
a cold, or else a moderate temperament. Now to say 
that warm foods agree with a warm temperament, that 
cold foods agree with a cold one, or that foods which 
are not of a moderate quality agree with a moderate 
temperament, is to state something naturally impossible. 
Therefore each one must choose the quality of food best 
suited to his constitution. Nor can those addicted to 
sensuality argue that, whenever they fall sick, they are 
enabled to free themselves of their sickness by clearing 
their systems with medicines and then observing a strict 



diet. It is very evident, thereby, that their trouble 
arises solely from indulgence in overmuch food, and 
that of a quality unsuited to their stomachs. 

There are other persons, likewise elderly, who 
declare that they are obliged to eat and drink a great 
deal to maintain the natural warmth of their bodies, 
which constantly dimioishes as their years increase; 
that they must have whatever food pleases their taste, 
whether hot, or cold, or temperate; and that, were they 
to live the temperate life, they would soon die. My 
answer thereto is that kind Mother Nature, in order 
that the aged, whom she loves, may be preserved to yet 
greater age, has so provided that they are able to live 
with very little food, even as I do ; because the stomachs 
of the old and feeble cannot digest large quantities. 
They need not fear that their lives will be shortened by 
reason of their not taking much food; since, by using 
very little when sick, they recover their health— and we 
know how sparing is the diet by the use of which inva- 
lids are restored. If, by confining themselves to a scanty 
fare when ill, they are freed of their disorders, why 
should they fear that, while using the larger quantity of 
food permitted by the temperate life, they should not be 
able to sustain their lives when in perfect health f 

Others, again, say that it is better to suffer three or 
four times a year with their usual complaints, such as 
the gout, pains in the side, or other ills, rather than 
suffer the whole year round by not gratifying the appe- 
tite in the eating of those things which please the palate ; 
since they know that by the medicine of a simple diet 
they can speedily recover. To them I reply that, with the 
increase of years and the consequent decrease of natural 
heat, dieting cannot always have sufficient power to undo 
the grave harm done by overeating. Hence they will 



necessarily succumb, at last, to these ailments of theirs : 
for sickness shortens life, even as health prolongs it 

Others, again, insist that it is far better to live ten 
years less, rather than to deprive one's self of the 
pleasure of gratifying the appetite. To this, I would 
say that men endowed with fine talents ought to prize a 
long life very highly. For the balance, it matters little 
that they do not value it; and, as they only make the 
world less beautiful, it is as well, perhaps, that they 
should die. 

The great misfortune is that a refined and talented 
man should die before he has attained the natural limit 
of his life; since, if he is already a cardinal, when he 
has passed the age of eighty he will the more likely 
become pope; if he is a public official, how much greater 
is the possibility of his being called to the highest dig- 
nity in the state; if a man of letters, he will be looked 
upon as a god on earth; and the same is true of all oth- 
ers, according to their various occupations. 

There are others, again, who, having come to old 
age, when the stomach naturally possesses less digestive 
power, will not consent to diminish the quantity of their 
food; nay, on the contrary, they increase it. And since, 
eating twice in the day, they find they cannot digest the 
great amount of food witii which they burden their 
stomachs, they decide that it is better to eat but once; 
for, relying upon the long interval thus allowed between 
meals, they believe themselves able to eat, at one time, 
the same quantity which they had previously divided 
into two meals. But, in doing this, they are guilty of 
a fatal error; for they eat such a quantity that the stom- 
ach is overloaded so grievously as to suffer and become 
sour, converting the excessive food into those bad humors 
which kill men before their time. 



I may say I have never known any person to live 
to a great age who indulged in that habit of life. Yet, 
all these persons would live to enjoy the blessings of 
extreme old age, if, as their years increase, they were 
but to reduce the quantity of their food and distribute 
it into several meals during the day, eating but little at 
a time; for the stomachs of the aged cannot digest a 
great quantity of food. Thus it is that an old man 
becomes, in regard to his nourishment, more and more 
like a child, who has to eat many times during the day. 

Finally, we have those who say that while the tem- 
perate life may indeed be able to preserve a man in 
health, it cannot prolong his life. To these I answer 
that experience proves the contrary to be true; for we 
know of many persons, who, in times past, have prolonged 
their lives in this manner, and it may be observed tiiat 
I, too, have thus prolonged mine. It cannot, whatever 
may be said, be objected that sobriety shortens the life 
of man as sickness unquestionably does. Therefore it 
is more conducive to the preservation of the radical 
moisture that a man be always healthy than that he be 
often sick. Hence we may reasonably conclude that the 
holy temperate life is the true mother of health and of 

most blessed and holy Temperate Life, so profit- 
able to man, and so helpful ! Thou enablest him to pro- 
long his life to ripe old age, wherein he becomes wise 
and hearkens to reason,— that faculty which is man's 
peculiar property,— by means of which he is freed from 
sensuality, reason's worst enemy, and its bitter fruits, 
the passions and anxieties of the mind. Thou deliverest 
him also from the fearful thought of death. Oh, how 
much am I, thy faithful follower, indebted to thee I for 
it is through thee I enjoy this beautiful world— beauti- 



ful, indeed, to him who knows how, by thy effectual help, 
to make it so for himself, as thou hast enabled me to do ! 

At no other period of my existence, even in my 
sensual and disorderly youth, could I make life so beauti- 
ful; and yet, in order to enjoy every portion of it, I 
spared neither expense nor anything else. For I found 
that the pleasures of those years were, after all, but 
vain and filled with disappointments ; so that I may say 
I never knew the world was beautiful until I reached 
old age. 

truly Happy Life ! Thou, besides all the aforesaid 
manifold blessings thou grantest to thy old disciple, hast 
brought his stomach to so good and perfect a condition 
that he now relishes plain bread more than he ever did 
the most delicate viands in the years of his youth. All 
this thou dost because thou art reasonable, knowing that 
bread is the proper food of man when accomi)anied by 
a healthful appetite. This natural company, so long as 
a man follows the temperate life, he may be sure will 
never fail hun; since, he eating but little, the stomach 
is but lightly burdened and has always, within a short 
time, a renewed desire for food. For this reason plain 
bread is so much relished. This I have proved by my 
own experience to be true; and I declare that I enjoy 
bread so much that I should be afraid of incurring the 
vice of gluttony, were it not that I am convinced it is 
necessary we should eat of it and that we cannot partake 
of a more nafural food. 

And thou, Mother Nature, so loving to thy old man, 
preserving him so long! Thou, besides providing that 
with littie food he may maintain himself, hast moreover 
shown hun— to favor him more and in order that his 
nourishment may be more profitable to him— that, while 
in youth he partook of two meals a day, now, that he 



has attained old age, his food must be divided into four; 
since, thus divided, it will be more easily digested by 
his stomach. In this way thou showest him that, as in 
youth he enjoyed the pleasures of the table but twice a 
day, now, in his old age, he may enjoy them four times, 
provided, however, he diminishes the quantity of his 
food as he advances in age. 

As thou showest me, so do I observe. In conse- 
quence of which, my spirits, never oppressed by much 
food, but simply sustained, are always cheerful ; aad their 
energy is never greater than after meals. For I feel, 
when I leave the table, that I must sing, and, after sing- 
ing, that I must write. This writing immediately after 
eating does not cause me any discomfort; nor is my mind 
less clear then than at other times. And I do not feel 
like sleeping; for the small amount of food I take can- 
not make me drowsy, as it is insufficient to send fumes 
from the stomach to the head. 

Oh, how profitable it is to the old to eat but little! 
I, accordingly, who am filled with the knowledge of this 
truth, eat only what is enough to sustain my life; and 
my food is as follows: 

First, bread; then, bread soup or light broth with 
<^ ^ggy or some other nice little dish of this kind; of 
meats, I eat veal, kid, aad mutton; I eat fowls of all 
kinds, as well as partridges and birds like the thrush. I 
also partake of such salt-water fish as the goldney aad 
the like; and, among the various fresh-water kinds, the 
pike aad others. 

As all these articles of food are suited to old people, 
the latter must be satisfied with them and not demaad 
others ; for they are quite sufficient, both in number and 
variety. Old persons, who, on account of poverty, cannot 
afford to indulge in all of these things, may maintaiTi 



their lives with bread, bread soup, and eggs— foods that 
certainly cannot be wanting even to a poor man, nnless 
he be one of the kind commonly known as good-for- 

Yet, even though the poor should eat nothing but 
bread, bread soup, and eggs, they must not take a greater 
quantity than that which can be easily digested; for they 
must, at all times, remember that he who is constantly 
faithful to the above-mentioned rules in regard to the 
quantity and quality of his food, cannot die except by 
simple dissolution and without illness. 

Oh, what a difference there is between the orderly 
and a disorderly life! The former blesses a man with 
perfect health and, at the same time, lengthens his life; 
while the latter, on the other hand, after bringing infirm- 
ities upon him, causes him to die before his time. 

thou unhappy and wretched disorderly life, thou 
art my sworn enemy ; for thou knowest how to do nothing 
save to murder those who follow thee! How many of 
my dearest relatives and friends hast thou snatched from 
me, because, for thy sake, they would not listen to my 
advice 1 But for thee, I might at this moment be enjoy- 
ing them I 

Yet thou hast not succeeded in destroying me, though 
right willingly wouldst thou have done so; but, in spite 
of thee, I am still living and have reached this advanced 
age. I rejoice in my eleven grandchildren by whom I 
am surrounded, and who are all of bright intellect and 
noble nature, healthy, beautiful, fond of their studies, 
and inclined to good habits. Them, if I had listened to 
thee, I should never have enjoyed. Nor, had I followed 
thee, should I ever have experienced the pleasure now 
afforded me in the comfortable and beautiful habitations 
of my own creation, which I have surrounded with 



attractive gardens that have required great length of 
time to be brought to their present state of perfection. 

No ! for thy nature is to murder all those who follow 
thee, before they have the joy of witnessing the comple- 
tion of their houses and gardens. Whilst I, to thy con- 
fusion, have already enjoyed the comfort of mine for 
many years. 

Thou art a vice so pestilential that thou spreadest 
sickness and corruption throughout the world; for which 
reason I have determined to use every means in my 
power to deliver mankind from thy clutches, at least as 
far as I am able. I have resolved to work against thee 
in such a manner that my eleven grandchildren, after 
me, shall make thee known for that most wretched and 
vicious thing thou really art— the mortal enemy of all 
men who are bom. 

I am astonished, indeed, that men gifted with fine 
intellect— for there are many such— and who have 
reached a high position either in literature or some other 
occupation, should not embrace and follow the temperate 
life, at least when they come to the age of fifty or sixty 
and are troubled with any of the above-mentioned dis- 
orders; for, by following the temperate life, they could 
easily deliver themselves from these ailments, which, 
later on, if allowed to make further progress, will 
become incurable. I do not wonder so much that some 
young men— those of them, at least, whose lives and 
habits are controlled by sensuality— should neglect 
sobriety; but certainly, after a man has passed the age 
of fifty, his life should be altogether guided by reason, 
which teaches that the gratification of the tastes and 
appetites means infirmity and death. 

If this pleasure of the taste were a lasting one, we 
might have some patience with those who are so ready 



to yield to it. But it is so short-lived that it is no sooner 
begun than ended; while the infirmities which proceed 
from it are of very long duration. Moreover, to tiie man 
who follows the temperate life it is assuredly a great 
satisfaction to know, when he has finished eating, that 
the food he has taken will never cause him any sickness, 
but will keep him in perfect health. 

I have now completed the short addition I wished to 
make to my treatise, **The Temperate Life*'— an addi- 
tion based on new arguments, though, at the same time, 
it is one of few words. For I have observed that long 
discourses are read by a few only, while brief ones are 
read by many; and I most heartily desire that this be 
read by many, in order that it may prove useful to many. 



Written at the Age of Ninety- one 




In Which he gives manWnd a rule of life that will, If 

tbilowed, assure a healthv and 

hapov old age 

rB intellect of man truly partakes, in some degree, 
of the divine prerogatives; for it was, indeed, 
something divine which led him to find a way of 
conversing, by means of writing, with another who is at 
a distance. And a thing altogether divine, also, is that 
natural factdty which enables him, when thus separated, 
to behold, with the eye of thought, his beloved friend; 
even as I now see you, Sir, and address to you this my 
discourse on a pleasant and profitable subject. 

* Sec Note J ♦♦ See Note K 



It is true that what I shall write will be upon a mat- 
ter which has already been treated at other times, but 
never by any man at the age of ninety-one— at which 
time of life I am now writing. On account of my age, 
I cannot be at fault; for the more my years multiply, 
the more my strength also increases. And I, who am 
well aware from what cause this proceeds, feel compelled 
to make it known, and to show that all mankind may pos- 
sess an earthly paradise after the age of eighty— a para- 
dise with which I myself am blessed. But one cannot 
attain it otherwise than by means of holy self-restraint 
and the temperate life— two virtues much loved by the 
great God, because they are the enemies of sensuality 
and the friends of reason. 

Now, Sir, to begin my discourse, I shall tell you 
that I have, within the past few days, been visited by a 
number of excellent professors who lecture in our Uni- 
versity—doctors of medicine as well as philosophy. 
These gentlemen are all well acquainted with my age, 
and with my manner and habits of living, and know how 
full I am of cheerfulness and health. They know, too, 
that all my senses are in perfect condition— as also are 
my memory, my heart, and my mind— and that this is 
equally true of even my voice and my teeth. Nor are 
they ignorant of the fact that I constantly write, and 
with my own hand, eight hours a day, and always on 
subjects profitable to the world; and, in addition to this, 
that I walk and sing for many other hours. 

Oh, how beautiful and sonorous has my voice 
become I If you could but hear me sing my prayers to 
the accompaniment of the lyre, as King David sang to 
that of the harp, I assure you that you would derive great 

Among other things, my visitors, the doctors, said: 



**It is certainly marvelous that you are able to write so 
much, and upon subjects which require such thought and 
spirit/' Concerning which, Sir, to tell you the truth, one 
can form no idea of the extreme pleasure and satisfac- 
tion I experience in writing thus; and, when I reflect 
that my writings will assuredly be useful to mankind, 
you can readily understand how great is my delight. 

In fine, they said that I could by no means be con- 
sidered an old maiL For all my actions are those of 
youth, and not at all like the actions of other old persons ; 
who, when they have arrived at the age of eighty, are 
almost helpless, besides having to suffer either from 
pains in the side or from some other complaint In 
order to rid themselves of these troubles, they are con- 
tinually subject to medical treatment or surgical opera- 
tions, all of which are a great annoyauce. Should there 
be any among them so fortunate as not to suffer from 
these infirmities, it will be found that their senses have 
begun to fail— either that of sight, or that of hearing, 
or some other one. We know of old persons who cannot 
walk, and of others who cannot use their hands because 
they tremble; and, if one of the number is so favored 
as to be free from the above troubles, it will be observed 
that he does not have a perfect memory, or else that his 
heart or his mind is weak. In a word, there is not one 
among them who enjoys a cheerful, happy, and contented 
life, such as mine is. 

But, besides these many advantages which I pos- 
sess, there is a special one which caused them to wonder 
extremely, because it is so very uncommon and contrary 
to nature; and that is, that I should have been able to 
keep myself alive during the past fifty years, notwith- 
standing the presence of an extreme difficulty— one of a 
mortal character— that has always been present in me. 



This diflSctilty, which cannot be remedied, because it is a 
natural and hidden property of my constitution, con- 
sists in this: every year, from the beginning of July 
and throughout the whole of August, I cannot drink any 
kind of wine soever, be it of what variety of grape or 
of what country it may; for, during the whole of those 
two months, wine, besides being very unfriendly to my 
palate, disagrees with my stomach. So that, being with- 
out my milk,— for wine is truly the milk of the aged,— 
I am left without anything to drink; for waters, in what- 
ever way they may be doctored or prepared, have not 
the virtue of wine, and fail to relieve me. My stomach 
becomes very much disordered, and I can eat but very 
little in consequence. This scarcity of food and lack of 
wine reduces me, by the latter part of August, to a con- 
dition of extreme mortal weakness. Neither does strong 
chicken broth nor any other remedy benefit me in the 
least; so that, through weakness alone,— not by any ail- 
ment,— I am brought very near a djring condition. It 
was evident to my visitors that, if the new wine, which 
I am always careful to have ready every year by the 
beginning of September, were not then forthcoming, the 
delay would be the cause of my death. 

But they were yet more amazed at the fact that this 
new wine should have power to restore, in two or three 
days, the strength of which the old wine had deprived 
me— a thing of which they had themselves been eye-wit- 
nesses, and which could not be believed except by those 
who have seen it. 

'*Some of us," the doctors went on to say, **have 
observed your strange case for many years in succes- 
sion; and, for the past ten years, it has been our opinion 
that, considering what a mortal difficulty you are under 
as well as your increasing age, it would be impossible 



for you to live more than a year or two longer. Yet we 
see, this year, that your weakness is less than in previous 
years. '^ 

This blessing, associated with so many others, 
forced them to the conclusion that the union of all these 
many favors was a special grace bestowed on me at birth 
by Nature or by the heavens. In order to prove this 
conclusion true,— though as a matter of fact it is false, 
because not based upon good reasons and solid founda- 
tions, but simply upon their own opinions,— they found 
themselves under the necessity of giving utterance to 
many beautiful and lofty things with the finest eloquence. 
Eloquence, Sir, in men of intellect, verily has great 
power; so much so, indeed, that it will persuade some 
people to believe things that are not and can not be true. 
Their words, however, were to me a great pleasure and 
quite an amusing pastime; for it is certainly highly 
entertaining to listen to such talk from men of their 

And here I was granted another satisfaction; 
namely, the thought that advanced age, by reason of its 
experience, is able to confer learning upon the unlearned. 
This is not difScult to understand; for length of days is 
the real foundation of true knowledge— by means of 
which, alone, I was made aware of the erroneousness of 
their conclusions. Thus you see. Sir, how apt men are 
to err in forming their opinions when these are not based 
upon solid foundations. 

In order, therefore, to undeceive them as well as to 
be of other service to them, I told them plainly that their 
conclusion was wrong, and that I would convince them 
of this by clearly proving that the blessing which I enjoy 
is not a special one, conferred upon me alone, but a gen- 
eral one and such as every man may possess if he 



choose. For I am only an ordinary mortal. Composed, 
like everybody else, of the four elements, I have— in 
addition to existence— sense, intellect, and reason. With 
the two latter faculties every one of us is bom, the great 
God having willed that man. His creature whom He loves 
so well, should possess these gifts and blessings; for 
thus has He raised him above all the other creatures 
which have sense only, in order that, by means of these 
faculties, he may preserve himself in perfect health for 
many years. Therefore mine is a universal blessing, 
granted by God, and not by Nature or the heavens. 

Man is, in his youth, however, more a senMual than 
a rational creature, and is inclined to live accordingly. 
Yet, when he has arrived at the age of forty or fifty, he 
certainly ought to realize that he has been enabled to 
reach the middle of life solely through the power of 
youth and a young stomach, those natural gifts which 
have helped him in the ascent of the hill. Now he must 
bear in mind that, burdened with the disadvantage of old 
age, he is about to descend it toward death. And, since 
old age is exactly the opposite of youth, just as disorder 
is the reverse of order, it becomes imperative for him 
to change his habits of life with regard to eating and 
drinking, upon which a long and healthy life depends. 
As his earlier years were sensual and disorderly, the 
balance of them must be exactly the contrary, reasonable 
and orderly; because without order nothing can be pre- 
served—least of all, the life of man. For it is well 
proved by experience that, while disorder does grievous 
harm, order is constantly beneficial. 

It is necessarily impossible, in the nature of things, 
that a man should be determined to satisfy his taste and 
appetite, and yet, at the same time, commit no excesses ; 
so, to be free from these excesses, I adopted the orderly 



and temperate life when I had once reached the state of 
manhood. I shall not deny that, in the beginning, I 
experienced some difficulty in abandoning an intemperate 
life after leading it for so many years. But, in order 
that I might be able to follow the temperate life, I prayed 
to God that He would grant me the virtue of self- 
restraint, knowing well that, when a man has firmly 
resolved to realize a noble enterprise and one which he 
is convinced he can accomplish,— though not with- 
out difficulty,— it is made much easier by bending all 
his energy upon doing it and actually setting to work. 
Spurred by this resolve, I began, little by little, to draw 
myself away from my disorderly life, and, little by little, 
to embrace the orderly one. In this manner I gave 
myself up to the temperate life, which has not since been 
wearisome to me; although, on account of the weakness 
of my constitution, I was compelled to be extremely 
careful with regard to the quality and quantity of my 
food and drink. 

However, those persons who are blessed with strong 
constitutions may make use of many other kinds and 
qualities of food and drink, and partake of them in 
greater quantities, than I do; so that, even though the 
life they follow be the temperate one, it need not be as 
strict as mine, but much freer. 

After they had heard my arguments and found them 
grounded, as they were, upon solid foundations, my 
visitors admitted that all I had said was true. The 
youngest of them, however, while ready to grant that the 
graces and advantages which I enjoyed were general, 
contended that I had had at least one special blessing 
vouchsafed me, in being able to relinquish so easily the 
kind of life I had so long followed, and to accustom 
myself to lead the other; because, although he had found 



this change, by Ms own experience, to be feasible, to 
him it had been very diflficult. 

I replied that, being a man like himself, I had also 
f omid it no easy matter to pass from the one kind of life 
to the other; but I knew it was unworthy of a man 
to abandon a noble undertaking simply on account of the 
difficulties encountered. For, the more obstacles a man 
meets and overcomes, the greater is the honor he gains 
and the more pleasing his action in the sight of God. 

Our Maker, having ordained that the life of man 
should last for many years, is desirous that everyone 
should attain the extreme limit; since He knows that, 
after the age of eighty, man is wholly freed from the 
bitter fruits of sensuality and is replenished with those 
of holy reason. Then, of necessity, vices and sins are 
left behind. Wherefore it is that God wishes we should 
all live to extreme age; and He has ordained that they 
who do so reach their natural limit of earthly existence, 
shall terminate it without pain or sickness and by simple 
dissolution. Such is, indeed, the natural way of depart- 
ing from this world, when we leave the mortal life to 
enter upon the immortal one— as it will be my lot to do; 
for I feel certain that I shall die while singing my 

The awful thought of death does not trouble me in 
the least, although I realize, on account of my many 
years, I am nigh to it; for I reflect that I was bom to 
die, and that many others have departed this life at a 
much younger age than mine. 

Nor am I disturbed by that other thought, a com- 
panion of the foregoing one ; namely, the thought of the 
punishment, which, after death, must be suffered for 
sins conmiitted in this life. For I am a good Christian; 
and, as such, I am bound to believe that I shall be 



delivered from that punishment by virtue of the most 
sacred blood of Christ, which He shed in order to free 
us, His faithful servants, from those pains. Oh, what 
a beautiful life is mine, and how happy my end will be I 

Having heard me out, the young man replied that, 
in order to gain the numerous and great advantages I 
had gained, he was determined to embrace the temperate 
life I had so long practiced. He further declared 
he had already gained a highly important one; namely, 
that as he had always had a lively wish to live to a very 
great age, so now he desired to attain it as quickly as 
possible, in order to enter sooner into possession of the 
delights of that most enjoyable season. 

The great longing I had to converse with you. Rever- 
end Sir, has forced me to write at considerable length; 
while that which I still wish to say to you obliges me to 
continue my letter. But I shall be brief. 

Dear Sir, there are some very sensual men who 
claim that I have only wasted time, as well as labor, in 
composing my treatise, **The Temperate Life,'' and the 
additions I have made to it; for, as they allege, I am 
exhorting men to adopt habits to which it is impossible 
for them to conform. They assert that my treatise will 
be as vain as is the ** Republic" by Plato, who labored 
to write of a system which was impracticable— that, as his 
work is useless, so also will mine be. 

I wonder much at such a line of argument on the 
part of intelligent men; foi", if they have read my 
treatise, they must have clearly seen that I had led the 
temperate life for many years before writing auything 
regarding it Nor should I ever have written, had not 
my own experience convinced me, without a shadow of 
doubt, not only that it is a practicable life and such as 
all men may easily lead, but, furthermore, that it profits 



greatly because it is a life of virtue. I am so much 
indebted to it myself that I felt obliged to write of it, 
in order that I might make it known to others as the 
inestimable blessing it truly is. I know of many persons, 
who, after reading my treatise, have adopted that life; 
and I know, too, that in past ages, as we read in 
history, there were many who were remarkable as its 
followers. Hence the objection which is urged against 
Plato ^s ** Republic'' certainly does not hold good in the 
case of my treatise, **The Temperate Life." But these 
sensual men, enemies of reason and friends of intemper- 
ance, will only receive their just deserts if, while seeking 
to gratify their every taste and appetite, they incur 
painful sicknesses, and meet, as many such do, with a 
premature death. 



From the painting by Paul Van Somer — No. 520, National Portrait Gallery. 


Photograph copyrighted by Walker and Cockcrell 


Written at the Age of Ninety-five 

The Birth and Death or Man 


In which, bu the authoiitv of his own experlenoe, the aged author 

stilves to persuade all mankind to follow the orderlu and 

temperate 111^ In order that they, too, may reach an 

advanced age. In which to enjoy ail those graces 

and blessings that God In His goodness 

Is pleased to grant to mortals 

IN order that I may not fail in the discharge of my 
duty— a law to which every man is bonnd— and, at 
the same time, that I may not forego the pleasure 
I invariably experience in being of service to my 
fellow-men, I have determined to write and to make 
known to those persons who do not know them— because 
unacquainted with me— the things which are known and 
seen by those who frequent my company. Certain facts 
I shall now relate will, to some, appear difficult of belief 



and well-nigh impossible; nevertheless, since they are all 
true and to be seen in reality, I will not refrain from 
writing of them, that the knowledge of them may benefit 
the world at large. 

In the first place, I shall say that I have, through 
the mercy of God, reached the age of ninety-five ; that I 
find myself, in spite of my great age, healthy, strong, 
contented, and happy; and that I continnally praise the 
Divine Majesty for so much favor conferred upon me. 
Moreover, in the generality of other old men whom I see, 
no sooner have they arrived at the age of seventy, than 
they are ailing and devoid of strength; melancholy; and 
continually occupied with the thought of death. They 
fear, from day to day, that their last hour will come; so 
much so, that it is impossible for anything to relieve 
their minds of that dread. For my part, I do not ex- 
perience the least trouble at the idea of death; for, as I 
shall later on explain more clearly, I cannot bring my- 
self to give it so much as a thought. 

In addition to this, I shall demonstrate, beyond 
question, the certainty I entertain of living to the age of 
one hundred years. But, in order that I may proceed 
methodically, I shall begin with the consideration of man 
at his birth, studying him thence, step by step, through 
every stage of life until his death. 

I say, then, that some human beings are ushered into 
this world with so little vitality that they live but a very 
few days, months, or years, as the case may be. The 
cause of this want of vitality it is impossible to know to 
a certainty, whether it arises from some imperfection of 
the father or mother, from the revolutions of the heavens, 
or from some defect in Nature. This latter, however, 
can happen only when she is subject to the influence of 
the heavens ; for I could never persuade myself to believe 



that Natare^ being the mother of all, could be so ungener- 
ous to any of her children. Hence, not being able to 
ascertain the real cause, we must be content to accept the 
facts as we daily observe them. 

Others are bom with greater vitality, yet with feeble 
and poor constitutions. Of these, some live to the age 
of ten, others to twenty, others even to thirty or forty 
years; but they never reach old age. 

Others, again, begin life with perfect constitutions 
and live to old age; but the health of the greater i>art of 
them is, as I have said before, in a very wretched con- 
dition. They are themselves the sole cause of this; 
simply because, foolishly relying too much upon their 
perfect natures, they are unwilling, under any circum- 
stances, to modify their manner of living when passing 
from youth to old age, as though they still possessed 
their early vigor unimpaired. Indeed, they expect to be 
able to continue to live as disorderly a life, after they 
have begun the descent of the hill, as they did throughout 
the years of their youth; since they never for a moment 
consider that they are approaching old age and that 
their constitutions have lost their former vigor. Nor do 
they ever pause to reflect that their stomachs have lost 
their natural heat, and that they should, by reason of this 
circumstance, be more careful with regard to quality in 
the selection of their food and drink, and also with regard 
to the quantity thereof, to lessen it gradually. But the 
latter they refuse to do; instead of which, they attempt 
to augment it, claiming— as an excuse— that, since a man 
loses his strength with advancing age, the deficiency 
must be made good by a greater quantity of nourish- 
ment, as it is that which keeps him alive. 

These persons, however, argue very incorrectly. 
For, as the natural heat of man gradually diminishes with 



the increase of age^ it becomes necessary for him to 
decrease gradually, in proportion, the amount of his 
food and drink; since nature requires very little to main- 
tain the life of an old man. Although reason should 
convince them that this is the case, yet these men refuse to 
admit it, and pursue their usual life of disorder as here- 
tofore. Were they to act differently, abandoning their 
irregular habits and adopting orderly and temperate 
ones, they would live to old age— as I have— in good con- 
dition. Being, by the grace of God, of so robust and 
perfect constitutions, they would live until they reached 
the age of a hundred and twenty, as history points out 
to us that others— bom, of course, with perfect constitu- 
tions—have done, who led the temperate life. 

I am certain I, too, should live to that age, had it 
been my good fortune to receive a similar blessing at my 
birth; but, because I was bom with a poor constitution, 
I fear I shall not live much beyond a hundred years. Yet 
all those who are born delicate, like myself, would no 
doubt reach, in perfect health, the age of a hundred and 
more years,— as I feel will be the case with me,— were 
they to embrace the temperate life as I have done. 

This certainty of being able to live for many years 
seems to me of great value. Indeed, it should be highly 
prized; since no man can be sure of even one single hour 
of existence unless he be one of those who follow the 
temperate life. These alone have solid ground for their 
hopes of a long life— hopes founded upon good and true 
natural reasons which have never been known to fail. 
For it is impossible, in the regular course of nature, that 
he who leads the orderly and temperate life should ever 
fall sick; nor, though death is eventually certain, need 
he ever die a premature or an unnatural death. It is 
not possible that he should die earlier than is occasioned 



by the natural failnre of the body; for the temperate life 
has the power to remove every cause of sickness; and 
without a cause^ sickness cannot develop. When the 
cause is removed, sickness likewise is removed; and sick- 
ness being removed, an unnatural death is out of the 

It is beyond doubt that the orderly and temperate 
life has the power and strength to remove the causes 
of illness; for it is that which changes, for the better, 
the humors of the body upon which— according as they 
are good or bad— man's health or sickness, life or death, 
depends. If these humors were bad, the temperate life 
has the natural power to make them better and, in time, 
perfect; and, being able to make them so, it has the 
further power to maintain, equalize, and unite them so 
that they cannot become separated, agitated, or altered, 
and cause cruel fevers and, finally, death. 

It is true, however,— and this no one can reasonably 
deny,— that even though they be made ever so good, yet, 
as time progresses, consuming all things, these humors 
of the body will also be consumed and dissolved at last. 
When they are thus dissolved, man must die a natural 
death,— without pain or illness,— just as, in the course 
of time, I shall pass away when the humors of my body 
shall be finally consumed. 

They are now, however, all in good condition. It 
is not possible they should be otherwise ; for I am healthy, 
cheerful, and contented; my appetite is so good that I 
always eat with relish; my sleep is sweet and peaceful; 
and, moreover, all my faculties are in a condition as 
perfect as ever they were; my mind is more than ever 
keen and clear; my judgment sound; my memory tena- 
cious; my heart full of life; and my voice— that which is 
wont to be the first thing in man to fail— is so strong and 



sonorous that, in consequence, I am obliged to sing aloud 
my morning and evening prayers, which I had formerly 
been accustomed to say in a low and hushed tone. 
These are true and certain indications that the humors 
of my body are all good and can never be consumed 
save by time alone, as everybody who is well acquainted 
with me declares. 

Oh, how glorious will have been this life of mine ! so 
full of all the happiness that can be enjoyed in this world, 
and so free— as it truly is— from the tyranny of sensu- 
ality, which, thanks to my many years, has been driven 
out by reason! For, where reason reigns, no place is 
left for sensuality, nor for its bitter fruits, the passions 
and anxieties of the mind accompanied by a well-nigh 
endless train of afflicting and sorrowful thoughts. 

As for the thought of death, it can have no place in 
my mind; for there is nothing sensual in me. Even the 
death of any of my grandchildren, or of any other rel- 
atives or friends, could never cause me trouble except 
the first instinctive motion of the soul, which, however, 
soon passes away. How much less could I lose my 
serenity through any loss of worldly wealth! Many of 
my friends have witnessed this to their great astonish- 
ment. However, this is the privilege of ttiose only who 
attain extreme age by means of the temperate life and not 
merely through the aid of a strong constitution; it is the 
former, not the latter, who enjoy every moment of life, 
as I do, amid continual consolations and pleasures. 

And who would not enjoy life at an age when, as 
I have already shown, it is free from the innumerable 
miseries by which we all know the younger ages are 
afflicted! How wholly mine, in its happiness, is free 
from these miseries, I shall now set forth. 

To begin, the first of joys is to be of service to one^s 
beloved country. Oh, what a glorious enjoyment it 



iSy what a sonrce of infinite pleasure to me^ that I am 
able to show Venice the manner in which she may pre- 
serve her valuable lagoon and harbor so that they will 
not alter for thousands of years to come ! Thus she wi]l 
continue to bear her wonderful and magnificent name of 
Virgin City, which indeed she is, there being no other 
like her in all the world; while her high and noble 
title. Queen of the Sea, will, by this means, become still 
more exalted. I can never fail to fully rejoice and take 
great comfort in this. 

There is another thing which afifords me much con- 
tentment; it is, that I have shown this Virgin and Queen 
how she may be abundantly supplied with food, by pre- 
paring for cultivation— with returns much above the ex- 
pense—large tracts of land, marshes as well as dry plains, 
all hitherto useless and waste. 

Another sweet and unalloyed satisfaction I ex- 
perience is, that I have pointed out to Venice how she 
may be made stronger, although she is now so strong 
as to be almost impregnable ; how her loveliness may be 
increased, although she is now so beautiful; how she 
may be made richer, although now exceedingly wealthy; 
and how her air, which is now so good, may be made 

These three pleasures afiford me the greatest possible 
satisfaction, because based wholly upon my desire to 
be useful to others. And who could find a drawback to 
them, since in reality none exists I 

Having lost a considerable portion of my income 
through misfortunes befallen my grandchildren, it is 
another source of happiness to me tiiat, merely through 
the activity of my thoughts which do not sleep, without 
any bodily fatigue, and with but little labor of the mind, 
I found a sure and unerring way of repairing— yea, of 



doubly remedying— that loss, by means of true and scien- 
tific farming. 

Yet one more gratification afforded me is the abun- 
dant evidence I receive that my treatise^ **The Temper- 
ate Life/' which I composed to be of service to others, 
is really doing much good. I can entertain no doubt of 
this; since some tell me, by word of mouth, that they 
have derived great benefit from it— and it is evident they 
have; while others acknowledge by letter that, after 
God, it is to me they owe their very lives. 

Another great consolation enjoyed by me is that of 
writing with my own hand— and, to be of use, I write a 
great deal— on various topics, especially upon archi- 
tecture and agriculture. 

Yet another of my pleasures consists in having the 
good fortune to converse with various men of fine and 
high intellect, from whom, even at my advanced age, I 
never fail to learn something. Oh, what a delight it 
is to feel that, at this great age of mine, it is no labor 
whatsoever to learn, no matter how great, high, and diffi- 
cult the subjects may be I 

Furthermore, though it is a thing which to some may 
seem impossible and in no manner to be believed, I wish 
to say that, in this extreme age of mine, I enjoy two 
lives at the same time : one, the earthly, which I possess 
in reality; the other, the heavenly, which I possess in 
thought. For thought truly has the power of imparting 
happiness when it is grounded upon something we are 
confident we shall enjoy, as I do firmly hope and cer- 
tainly believe I shall enjoy an eternal life through 
the infinite goodness and mercy of the great God. I en- 
joy this earthly existence through the excellence of the 
orderly and temperate life, which is so pleasing to His 
Majesty because it is full of virtue and the enemy of 
vice. At the same time I rejoice in the heavenly one, 


LOUIS oobnabo'b tbbatisb 

which God has given me now to enjoy in ihonght; for 
He has taken from me the power to think of it differently, 
so sure am I to possess it some day. 

And I hold that our departure from this world is 
not death, but merely a passage which the soul makes 
from this earthly life to the heavenly one, immortal and 
infinitely perfect— a belief which I am sure cannot but 
be the true one. 

Hence my thoughts are raised to heights so sublime 
that they cannot descend to the consideration of such 
worldly and common occurrences as the death of the 
body, but, rather, are wholly absorbed in living the 
heavenly and divine life. In this manner it comes to 
pass that, as I said before, I incessantly enjoy two lives. 
And I shall not feel any regret on account of the great 
happiness I have in this earthly life, when that life shall 
cease; for then my joy will be boundless, knowing, as I 
do, that the ending of this life is but the beginning of 
another, glorious and immortal. 

Who could ever find weariness in a lot so truly 
blessed and happy as the one I enjoy I Yet this happi- 
ness would be the portion of every man if he would but 
lead a life similar to the one I have led. And, assuredly, 
it is in every man's power to lead such a life; for I am 
nothing but a man and not a saint, only a servant of 
God, to Whom the orderly life is well-pleasing. 

There are many men who embrace a holy and beau- 
tiful, spiritual and contemplative life, full of prayer. 
Oh, were they faithful followers also of the orderly and 
temperate life, how much more pleasing in the sight of 
Gk)d would they render themselves, and how much more 
beautiful would they make the world I They would be 
esteemed as highly as were those, who, in ancient times, 
added the practice of the temperate life to that of the 



Like them, they would live to the age of one hundred 
and twenty; and, by the power of God, they would per- 
form countless miracles, just as those others did. 
Furthermore, they would constantly enjoy a healthy, 
happy, and cheerful life ; whereas they are at present, for 
the greater part, unhealthy, melancholy, and dissatisfied. 

Since some of them believe that tiiese afSictions are 
sent them by the great God for their salvation,— that they 
may, in this life, make reparation for their sins,— I can- 
not refrain from saying that, according to my judgment, 
these persons are mistaken; for I cannot believe G^ 
deems it good that man, whom He so much loves, should 
be sickly, melancholy, and discontented. I believe, on 
the contrary, that He wishes him to be healthy, cheerful, 
and contented, precisely as those holy men in ancient 
times were; who, becoming ever better servants of His 
Majesty, performed the many and beautiful miracles of 
which we read. 

Oh, what a lovely and enjoyable place this world 
would be— even more so than it was in the olden times I 
For there are now many Orders which then did not ex- 
ist, in which, if the temperate life were followed, we 
might see so many venerable old men; and a wonderful 
sight it would be. Nor would they, in the practice of the 
temperate life, deviate from the regular rules of living 
enjoined by their Orders ; on the contrary, they would im- 
prove upon them. For every Order allows its members, 
in the way of fare, to eat bread and drink wine, and, in 
addition to that, sometimes to take eggs. Some Orders 
allow even meat, besides vegetable soups, salads, fruits, 
and pastries made with eggs— foods which often harm 
them, and to some are a cause of death. They make use of 
these because allowed to do so by their Orders, thinking, 
perhaps, they would be doing wrong were they to abstain 
from them. But it would not be wrong at all ; indeed, they 



would act more properly, if, after they have passed the 
age of thirty, they were to give up the use of such foods, 
and live solely upon bread dipped in wine, bread soup, 
and eggs with bread— the true diet to preserve the life of 
a man of poor constitution. It would be, after all, a rule 
less severe than that of those holy men of old in the 
deserts; who, subsisting entirely upon wild fruits and 
roots of herbs, and drinking nothing but pure water, 
lived, as I have said, many years, and were always 
healHiy, cheerful, and contented. So, also, would these 
of our own day be, were they to follow the temperate life. 
And, at the same time, they would more easily find the 
way to ascend to heaven, which is always open to every 
faithful Christian; for thus it was our Redeemer left it 
when He descended thence, coming upon earth that He 
might shed His precious blood to deliver us from the 
tyrannical servitude of the devil— all of which He did 
through His infinite goodness. 

In conclusion, I wish to say that, since old age is— 
as, in truth, it is— filled and overflowing with so many 
graces and blessings, and since I am one of the number 
who enjoy them, I cannot fail— not wishing to be wanting 
in charity— to give testimony to the fact, and to fully 
certify to all men that my enjoyment is much greater 
than I can now express in writing. I declare that I have 
no other motive for writing but my hope that the 
knowledge of so great a blessing as my old age has 
proved to be, will induce every human being to deter- 
mine to adopt this praiseworthy orderly and temperate 
life, in favor of which I ceaselessly keep repeating, Live, 
live, that you may become better servants of God! 


I/axuryl thou curst by Heaven's decree. 
How ill exchanged are things like these for thee I 
How do thy potions, with insidious joy. 
Diffuse their pleasures only to destroy! 
Kingdoms by thee, to sickly greatness grown. 
Boast of a florid vigor not their own: 
At every draught more large and large they grow, 
A bloated mass of rank unwieldy woe; 
Till sapp'd their strength, and every part unsound, 
Down, down they sink, and spread a ruin round. 

— Oliver Goldsmith. 


Selected and Arranged from 


History or Lire «nd Death" 



"Health and Long Lire" 

The first physicians by debauch were made; 
Excess began and sloth sustains the trade. 
By chase our long-lived fathers eam'd their food; 
ToU strung the nerves, and purified the blood; 
But we their sons, a pamper' d race of men. 
Are dwindled down to threescore years and ten. 
Better to hunt in fields for health unbought 
Than fee the doctor for a nauseous draught. 
The wise for cure on exercise depend: 
Ood never m^ade his work for m^n to mend. 

— John Dryden. 

Skliotsd and Abbahobd fbom 

"History or Lire and Death" 



o THE Present Age, and Postebity. 

I have hope, and wish, that it [the '^History 
of life and Death''] may conduce to a common 
good; and that the nobler sort of physicians will advance 
their thoughts, and not employ their time wholly in the 
sordidness of cures; neither be honored for necessity 
only; but that they will become coadjutors and instru- 
ments of the Divine omnipotence and clemency in pro- 
longing and renewing the life of man. For though we 
Christians do continually aspire and pant after the land 

♦ See Note C 



of promise, yet it will be a token of God^s favor toward 
us in our joumeyings through this world's wilderness, 
to have our shoes and garments— I mean those of our 
frail bodies— little worn or impaired. 

Fb. St. Albans. 

Men fear death, as children fear to go into the dark; 
and as that natural fear in children is increased with 
tales, so is the other. Certainly, the contemplation of 
death, as the wages of sin, and passage to another world, 
is holy and religious; but the fear of it, as a tribute due 
unto nature, is weak. It is as natural to die as to be bom. 
He that dies in an earnest pursuit, is like one that is 
wounded in hot blood; who, for the time, scarce feels the 
hurt; and therefore a mind fixed and bent upon some- 
what that is good, doth avert the dolors of death. It will 
be hard to know the ways of death, unless we search out 
and discover the seat or house, or rather den, of death. 

Truth, which only doth judge itself, teacheth that 
the inquiry of truth, which is the love-making or wooing 
of it, the knowledge of truth, which is the presence of it, 
and the belief of truth, which is the enjoying of it, is the 
sovereign good of human nature. Certainly, it is heaven 
upon earth, to have a man's mind move in charity, rest 
in providence, and turn upon the poles of truth. 

Man, the servant and interpreter of nature, does and 
understands as much as he has actually or mentally 
observed of the order of nature— himself, meanwhile, 
inclosed around by the laws of nature ; he neither knows 
nor can do more. The limit, therefore, of human power 
and knowledge is in the faculties, with which man is 
endowed by nature for moving and perceiving, as well 
as in the state of present things. These faculties, though 
of themselves weak and inept, are yet capable, when 



properly and regularly managed, of setting before the 
judgment and use things most remote from sense and 
action, and of overcoming greater difficulty of works and 
obscurity of knowledge than any one hath yet learned to 

Men see clearly, like owls, in the night of their own 
notions; but, in experience, as in the daylight, they wink 
and are but half -sighted. I should wish to have Para- 
celsus and Severinus for criers, when, with such clamors, 
they convoke men to the suggestions of experience. 

It appears to me that men know not either their 
acquirements or their powers, and trust too much to the 
former, and too little to the latter. Hence it arises, that, 
either estimating the arts they have become acquainted 
with at an absurd value, they require nothing more; or, 
forming too low an opinion of themselves, they waste 
their powers on trivial objects, without attempting any- 
thing to the purpose. The sciences have thus their own 
pillars, fixed as it were by fate ; since men are not roused 
to penetrate beyond them either by zeal or hope. All 
sciences seem, even now, to flourish most in their first 
authors— Aristotle, Galen, Euclid, and Ptolemy; succes- 
sion having not effected, nay, barely attempted, any great 
matter. Men, therefore, are to be admonished to rouse 
up their spirits, and try their strengths and turns, and 
not refer all to the opinions and brains of a few. Even 
those who have been determined to try for themselves, 
to add their support to learning, and to enlarge its limits, 
have not dared entirely to desert received opinions nor 
to seek the springhead of things. Yet there have not 
been wanting some, who, with greater daring, have con- 
sidered everjrthing open to them; and, employing the 
force of their wit, have opened a passage for themselves 
and their dogmas by prostrating and destroying all 
before them. 



Power to do good is the true and lawful end of 
aspiring; for good thoughts— though God accept them— 
toward men are little better than good dreams, except 
they be put in act 

The greatest trust between man and man is the trust 
of giving counsel. Heraclitus saith well in one of his 
enigmas, ^'Dry light is ever the best"; and certain it is, 
that the light that a man receiveth by counsel from 
another, is drier and purer than that which cometh from 
his own understanding and judgment, which is ever 
infused and drenched in his affections and customs; so 
there is as much difference between the counsel that a 
friend giveth, and that a man giveth himself, as there is 
between the counsel of a friend and of a flatterer; for 
there is no such flatterer as is a man's self, and there is 
no such remedy against flattery of a man's self as the 
liberty of a friend. The best preservative to keep the 
mind in health is the faithful admonition of a friend. It 
is a strange thing to behold what gross errors and 
extreme absurdities many do commit, for want of a friend 
to tell them of them, to the great damage both of their 
fame and fortune. 

The help of good counsel is that which setteth busi- 
ness straight. The wisest princes need not think it any 
diminution to their greatness, or derogation to their suf- 
ficiency, to rely upon counsel. Solomon hath pronounced 
that **in counsel is stability." Solomon's son found the 
force of counsel, as his father saw the necessity of it. 

It hath been noted that those who ascribe openly too 
much to their own wisdom and policy, end unfortunate. 
He that questioneth much, shall learn much and content 
much— especially if he apply his questions to the skill of 
the persons whom he asketh ; for he shall give them occa- 
sion to please themselves in speaking, and himself shall 
continually gather knowledge. Set before thee the best 



examples; for imitation is a globe of precepts. Ask 
comisel of both times : of the ancienter time what is best^ 
and of the latter time what is fittest. Do not drive away 
such as bring thee information, as meddlers ; but accept 
of them in good part. Always, when thou changest thine 
opinion or course, profess it plainly, and declare it, 
together with the reasons that move thee to change. 

This is a true and grave admonition, that we expect 
not to receive things necessary for life and manners from 
philosophical abstractions, but from the discreet obser- 
vation and experience, and the universal knowledge, of 
the things of this world. The shame it is, that men, hav- 
ing the use of so many arts, are not able to get unto 
themselves such things as nature itself bestows upon 
many other creatures ! Whosoever doth thoroughly con- 
sider the nature of man, may be in a manner the contriver 
of his own fortune, and is bom to command. 

It is an ancient saying and complaint, that life is 
short and art long; wherefore it behooveth us, who make 
it our chiefest aim to perfect arts, to take upon us the 
consideration of prolonging man's life— God, the author 
of all truth and life, prospering our endeavors. Only 
the inquiry is difficult how to attain this blessing of long 
life, so often promised in the old law; and so much the 
rather, because it is corrupted with false opinions and 
vain reports. Verily, it were a great sin against the 
golden fortune of mankind, the pledge of empire, for me 
to turn aside to the pursuit of most fleeting shadows. 
One bright and radiant light of truth must be placed in 
the midst, which may illuminate the whole, and in a 
moment dispel all errors. Certain feeble and pale lamps 
are not to be carried round to the several comers and 
holes of errors and falsehoods. 

We ingeniously profess that some of those things 



which we shall propound, have not been tried by us by 
way of experiment,— for our course of life doth not per- 
mit that,— but are derived, as we suppose, upon good 
reasons, out of our principles and grounds,— of which 
some we set down, others we reserve in our mind,— and 
are, as it were, cut and digged out of the rock and mine 
of Nature herself. Nevertheless, we have been careful, 
and that with all providence and circumspection,— seeing 
the Scripture saith of the body of man, that it is more 
worth thaix raiment,— to propound such remedies as may 
at least be safe, if peradventure they be not fruitful. 

All things in living creatures are in their youth 
repaired entirely; nay, they are for a time increased in 
quantity, bettered in quality, so as the matter of repara- 
tion might be eternal, if the manner of reparation did not 
fail. But this is the truth of it: there is in the declining 
of age an unequal reparation. By which it <;omes to 
pass, that, in process of time, the whole tends to dissolu- 
tion; and even those very parts which, in their own 
nature, are with much ease reparable, yet, through the 
decay of the organs of reparation, can no more receive 
reparation, but decline, and in the end utterly fail. And 
the cause of the termination of life is this: the spirits, 
like a gentle flame, continually preying upon bodies, 
conspiring with the outward air,— which is ever sucking 
and drying of them,— do, in time, destroy the whole 
fabric of the body, as also the particular engines and 
organs thereof, and make them unable for the work of 
reparation. These are the true ways of natural death, 
well and faithfully to be revolved in our minds; for he 
that knows not the way of nature, how can he succor her 
or turn her about? 

We see the reign or tyranny of custom, what it is. 
Men's thoughts are much according to their inclination; 
their discourse and speeches according to their learning 



and infused opinions; but their deeds are after as they 
have been accustomed. Therefore, as Machiavel well 
noteth, there is no trusting to the force of nature, nor to 
the bravery of words, except it be corroborate by custom. 
Nature is often hidden, sometimes overcome, seldom 
extinguished. But custom, only, doth alter and subdue 
nature. He that seeketh victory over his nature, let him 
not set himself too great nor too small tasks ; for the first 
will make him dejected by often failing, and the second 
will make him a small proceeder— -though by often pre- 
vailing. Where nature is mighty and, therefore, the 
victory hard, the degrees had need be : first, to stay and 
arrest nature in time—like to him that would say over 
the four-and-twenty letters when he was angry; then, to 
go less in quantity— as if one should, in forbearing wine, 
come from drinking healths to a draught at a meaJ ; and, 
lastly, to discontinue altogether; but if a man have the 
fortitude and resolution to enfranchise himself at once, 
that is the best. But let not a man trust his victory over 
his nature too far ; for nature will lie buried a great time, 
and yet revive upon the occasion, or temptation; like as 
it was with j^sop's damsel, turned from a cat to a 
woman, who sat very demurely at the board's end till a 
mouse ran before her. 

The predominancy of custom is everywhere visible; 
insomuch as a man would wonder to hear men profess, 
protest, engage, give great words, and then do just as 
they have done before, as if they were dead images and 
engines, moved only by the wheels of custom. A man's 
nature runs either to herbs or weeds ; therefore let him 
seasonably water the one, and destroy the other. Neither 
is the ancient rule amiss, to bend nature as a wand to a 
contrary extreme, whereby to set it right; understanding 
it where the contrary extreme is no vice. Many examples 
may be put of the force of custom, both upon mind and 



body; therefore, since custom is the principal magistrate 
of man's life, let men by all means endeavor to obtain 
good customs. Certainly, custom is most perfect when 
it beginneth in young years ; this we call education, which 
is, in effect, but an early custom. 

To procure long life, the body of man must be con- 
sidered. The ancients seemed not to despair of attaining 
the skill, by means and medicines, to put off old age, and 
to prolong life; but this to be numbered rather among 
such things, having been once happily attained unto, are 
now— through men's negligence and carelessness— 
utterly perished and lost, than among such as have been 
always denied and never granted; for they signify and 
show that the divine bounty is not wanting unto men in 
the obtaining of such gifts. Surely every medicine is 
an innovation; and he tiiat will not apply new remedies 
must expect new evils ; for time is the greatest innovator. 
And if time, of course, alter things to the worse, and 
wisdom and counsel shall not alter them to the better, 
what shall be the endf 

The nature of the spirits is as the uppermost wheel, 
which tumeth about the other wheels in the body of man; 
and, therefore, in the intention of long life, that ought to 
be first placed. Age is nothing of itself, being only the 
measure of time; that which causeth the effect is the 
native spirit of bodies, which sucketh up the moisture of 
the body, and then, together with it, flieth forth; and the 
air ambient, which multiplieth itself upon the native 
spirits and juices of the body, and preyeth upon them. 
The spirits are the master workmen of all effects in the 
body; this is manifest by consent, and by infinite 
instances. The actions or functions which are in the 
several members, follow the nature of the members them- 
selves,— attraction, retention, digestion, assimilation, sep- 
aration, excretion, perspiration, even sense itself,— 



according to the propriety of the several organs ; yet none 
of these actions would ever have been actuated, but by 
the vigor and presence of the vital spirit, and heat 
thereof. The operation upon the spirits, and their wax- 
ing green again, is the most ready and compendious way 
to long life. 

It conduceth unto long life, and to the more placid 
motion of the spirits, which thereby do less prey and 
consume the juice of the body, either that men's actions 
be free and voluntary, or, on the other side, that their 
actions be full of regulation and commands within them- 
selves ; for then the victory and performing of the com- 
mand giveth a good disposition to the spirits, especially 
if there be a proceeding from degree to degree ; for then 
the sense of the victory is the greater. An example of 
the former of these is in a country life; and of the latter 
in monks and philosophers, and such as do continually 
enjoin themselves. The spirits, to keep the body fresh 
and green, are so to be wrought and tempered that they 
may be in substance dense, not rare; in heat strong, not 
eager; in quantity sufficient for the offices of life, not 
redundant or turgid; in motion appeased, not dancing or 
unequal. It is to be seen in flames, that the bigger they 
are, the stronger they break forth, and the more speedily 
they consume. And, therefore, overgreat plenty, or 
exuberance of the spirits, is altogether hurtful to long 
life; neither need one wish a greater store of spirits, than 
what is sufficient for the functions of life and the office 
of a good reparation. 

The living spirit stands in need of three things that 
it may subsist: convenient motion, temperate refrigera- 
tion, and fit aliment. We suppose all things in modera- 
tion to be best 

No body can be healthy without exercise, neither 
natural body nor politic. It is altogether requisite to 



long life, that the body should never abide long in one 
postare ; but that every half-honr, at least, it change the 
posture, saving only in sleep. As for exercise, an idle 
life doth manifestly make the flesh soft and dissipable; 
robust exercise, so it be without overmuch sweating or 
weariness, maketh it hard and compact. Also exercise 
within cold water, as swimming, is very good; and, gen- 
erally, exercise abroad is better than that within houses. 
Exercises which stir up a good strong motion, but not 
overswift, or to our utmost strength, do not hurt, but 
rather benefit. 

Men ought to beware that they use not exercise and 
a spare diet both; but if much exercise, then a plentiful 
diet; and if sparing diet, then little exercise. The bene- 
fits that come of exercise are : first, that it sendeth nour- 
ishment into the parts more forcibly; secondly, that it 
helpeth to excem by sweat, and so maketh the parts 
assimilate the more perfectly; thirdly, that it maketh the 
substance of the body more solid and compact, and so 
less apt to be consumed and depredated by the spirits. 

That exercise may resolve either the spirits or the 
juices as little as may be, it is necessary that it be used 
when the stomach is not altogether empty; and, there- 
fore, that it may not be used upon a full stomach,— which 
doth much concern health,— nor yet upon an empty 
stomach,— which doth no less concern long life,— it is 
best to take a breakfast in the morning, of plain meat and 
drink; yet that very light, and in moderate quantity. 

Both exercise and frications conduce much to long 
life ; for agitation doth fineliest diffuse and commix things 
by small portions. But in exercise and frications there 
is the same reason and caution, that the body may not 
perspire or exhale too much. Therefore, exercise is 
better in the open air than in the house, and better in 
winter than in summer. Gentle frications, and moderate 



exercises, causing rather perspiration than sweating, 
conduce much to long life. But, generally, exercise, if 
it be much, is no friend to prolongation of life; which is 
one cause why women live longer than men, because they 
stir less.* 

Refrigeration, or cooling of the body, which passeth 
some other ways than by the stomach, is useful for long 
life. The reason is at hand: for seeing a refrigeration 
not temperate, but powerful,— especially of the blood,— 
is above all things necessary to long life, this can by no 
means be effected from within as much as is requisite, 
without the destruction of the stomach and bowels. 

The body of man doth regularly require renovation 
by aliment every day, and a body in health can scarce 
endure fasting three days together ; notwithstanding, use 
and custom will do much, even in this case; but in sick- 
ness, fasting is less grievous to the body. We would 
have men rightly to observe and distinguish, that those 
things which are good for a healthful life, are not always 
good for a long life ; for there are some things which do 
further the alacrity of the spirits, and the strength and 
vigor of the functions, which, notwithstanding, do cut off 
from the sum of life. It is hard to distinguish that which 
is generally held good and wholesome, from that which 
is good particularly, and fit for thine own body. It doth 
no good to have the aliment ready, in a degree removed, 
but to have it of that kind, and so prepared and supplied, 
that the spirit may work upon it; for the staff of a torch 
alone will not maintain the flame, unless it be fed with 
wax; neither can men live upon herbs alone. Nourish- 
ment ought to be of an inferior nature and more simple 
substances than the thing nourished. Plants are nour- 
ished with the earth and water, living creatures with 
plants, man with living creatures. There are also cer- 

♦ Sec Note A 



tain creatures feeding npon flesh; and man himself takes 
plants into a part of his nonrishment. 

The stomach— which, as they say, is the master of 
the house, and whose strength and goodness is funda- 
mental to the other concoctions— ought so to be guarded 
and confirmed that it may be without intemperateness 
hot; it is to be kept ever in appetite, because appetite 
sharpens digestion. This also is most certain, that the 
brain is in some sort in the custody of the stomach; and, 
therefore, those things which comfort and strengthen the 
stomach, do help the brain by consent. I do verily con- 
ceive it good that the first draught be taken at supper, 
warm. I knew a physician that was very famous ; who, 
in the beginning of dinner and supper, would usually eat 
a few spoonfuls of very warm broth with much greedi- 
ness, and then would presently wish that it were out 
again, saying he had no need of the broth, but only of 
the warmth. 

A pythagorical or monastical diet, according to strict 
rules, and always exactly equal,— as that of Comaro 
was,— seemeth to be very effectual for long life. If 
there were anything eminent in the Spartans, that was to 
be imputed to the parsimony of their diet. It is not more 
true, that many dishes have caused many diseases,— as 
the proverb is,— than this is true, that many mecLjines 
have caused few cures. 

It seems to be approved by experience, that a spare 
diet, and almost a pythagorical,— such as is either pre- 
scribed by the strict rules of a monastical life, or prac- 
ticed by hermits, which have necessity and poverty for 
their rule,— rendereth a man long-lived. Celsus, who 
was not only a learned physician, but a wise nan, is not 
to be omitted, who adviseth interchanging and alterna- 
tion of the diet, but still with an inclination to the more 
benign. Conservation of health hath commonly need of 



no more than some short courses of physic; but length 
of life cannot be hoped without an orderly diet 

Curing of diseases is effected by temporary medi- 
cines; but lengthening of life requireth observation of 
diets. Those things which come by accident, as soon as 
the causes are removed, cease again; but the continual 
course of nature, like a running river, requires a con- 
tinual rowing and sailing against the stream. Therefore 
we must work regularly by diets. Now, diets are of two 
kinds: set diets, which are to be observed at certain 
times ; and familiar diet, which is to be admitted into our 
daily repast. But the set diets are the more potent; for 
those things which are of so great virtue that they are 
able to turn nature back again, are, for the most part, 
more strong, and more speedily altering, than those which 
may without danger be received into a continual use. 

Certainly this is without all question: diet, well 
ordered, bears the greatest part in the prolongation of 
life. But if the diet shall not be altogether so rigorous 
and mortifying, yet, notwithstanding, shall be always 
equal and constant to itself, it worketh the same effect. 
We see it in flames, that a flame somewhat bigger— so it 
be always alike and quiet— consumeth less of the fuel, 
than a lesser flame blown with bellows, and by gusts 
stronger or weaker. That which the regimen and diet 
of Comaro, the Venetian, showed plainly; who did eat 
and drink so many years together by a just weight, 
whereby he exceeded a hundred years of age, strong in 
limbs, and entire in his senses. 

I am of opinion, that emaciating diseases, afterward 
well cured, have advanced many in the way of long life; 
for they yield new juice, the old being consumed; and to 
recover a sickness is to renew youth. Therefore it were 
good to make some artificial diseases, which is done by 
strict and emaciating diets. 



We see that all things which are done by nutrition 
ask a long time; but those which are done by embracing 
of the like— as it is in infusions—require no long time. 
Therefore, alimentation from without would be of princi- 
pal use; and so much the more, because the faculties of 
concoction decay in old age; so that if there could be 
some auxiliary nutritions, by bathing, unctions, or else 
by clysters, these things in conjunction might do much, 
which single are less available. 

Also, sleep doth supply somewhat to nourishment ; 
and, on the other side, exercise doth require it more 
abundantly. But as moderate sleep conferreth to long 
life, so much more if it be quiet and not disturbed. 

Assimilation is best done when all local motion is 
suspended. The act itself of assimilation is chiefly accom- 
plished in sleep and rest, especially toward the morning, 
the distribution being finished. Those that are very 
cold, and especially in their feet, cannot get to sleep ; the 
cause may be that in sleep is required a free respiration, 
which cold doth shut in and hinder. Therefore, we have 
nothing else to advise but that men keep themselves hot 
in their sleep. 

Sleep is regularly due unto human nature once 
within four-and-twenty hours, and that for six or five 
hours at the least; though there are, even in this kind, 
sometimes miracles of nature; as it is recorded of 
MsBcenas, that he slept not for a long time before his 
death. The fable tells us that Epimenides slept many 
years together in a cave, and all that time needed no 
meat; because the spirits waste not much in sleep. 

Some noises help sleep; as the blowing of the wind, 
the trickling of water, humming of bees, soft singing, 
reading, etc. The cause is that they move in the spirits 
a gentle attention; and whatsoever moveth attention, 
without too much labor, stilleth the natural and discursive 



motion of the spirits. Sleep nonrisheth, or at least pre- 
serveth, bodies a long time, without other nonrishment. 

There have some been found who sustained them- 
selves—almost to a miracle in nature— a very long time 
without meat or drink. Living creatures may subsist 
somewhat the longer without aliment, if they sleep; now, 
sleep is nothing else but a reception and retirement of 
the living spirit into itself. Experience teacheth us that 
certain creatures, as dormice and bats, sleep in some 
close places a whole winter together; such is the force 
of sleep to restrain all vital consumption. That which 
bees or drones are also thought to do, though sometimes 
destitute of honey; and likewise butterflies and other 
flies. Beasts that sleep in winter,— as it is noted of wild 
bears,— during their sleep wax very fat, though they eat 
nothing. Bats have been found in ovens, and other 
hollow close places, matted one upon another; and, there- 
fore, it is likely that they sleep in the winter time, and 
eat nothing. Butterflies, and other flies, do not only 
sleep, but lie as dead all winter; and yet with a little heat 
of sun or fire, revive again. A dormouse, both winter 
and summer, will sleep some days together, and eat 

Sleep after dinner— the stomach sending up no 
unpleasing vapors to the head, as being the first dews of 
our meat— is good for the spirits, but derogatory and 
hurtful to all other points of health. Notwithstanding, 
in extreme old age there is the same reason of meat and 
sleep; for both our meals and our sleeps should be then 
frequent, but short and little; nay, and toward the last 
period of old age, a mere rest, and, as it were, a perpet- 
ual reposing, doth best— especially in winter time. 

To be free-minded and cheerfully disposed at hours 
of meat and of sleep and of exercise, is one of the best 
precepts of long lasting. 



We suppose that a good clothing of the body maketh 
much to long life; for it fenceth and armeth against the 
intemperances of the air, which do wonderfully assail 
and decay the body. 

Above all things, in youth, and for those that have 
sufficiently strong stomachs, it will be best to take a good 
draught of clear cold water when they go to bed. 

Washing the body in cold water is good for length 
of life. 

Especially, care must be taken that no hot things be 
applied to the head outwardly. 

Not only the goodness or pureness of the air, but 
also the equality of the air, is material to long life. It 
is a secret that the healthfulness of air, especially in any 
perfection, is better found by experiment than by dis- 
course or conjecture. The country life is well fitted for 
long life; it is much abroad, and in the open air; it is 
not slothful, but ever in employment. They are longer 
lived, for the most part, that live abroad in the open air, 
than they that live in houses; and it is certain that the 
morning air is more lively and refreshing than the 
evening air. Change of air by traveling, after one be 
used unto it, is good ; and, therefore, great travelers have 
been long-lived. Also those that have lived perpetually in 
a little cottage, in the same place, have been long livers ; 
for air accustomed consumeth less, but air changed 
nourisheth and repaireth more. 

The heart receiveth benefit or harm most from the 
air which we breathe, from vapors, and from the affec- 

We must come now to the affections and passions of 
the mind, and see which of them are hurtful to long life, 
which profitable. 

Every noble, and resolute, and— as they call it— 
heroical desire, strengtheneth and enlargeth the powers 



of the heart Goodness I call the habit, and goodness 
of nature the inclination. This, of all virtues and dig- 
nities of the mind, is the greatest, being the character 
of the Deity; and without it, man is a busy, mischievous, 
wretched thing, no better than a kind of vermin. 

Hope is the most beneficial of all the affections, and 
doth much to the prolongation of life, if it be not too 
often frustrated, but entertaineth the fancy with an 
expectation of good; therefore, they which fix and pro- 
pound to themselves some end,— as the mark and scope of 
their life,— and continually and by degrees go forward 
in the same, are, for the most part, long-lived. 

Admiration and light contemplation are very power- 
ful to the prolonging of life; for they hold the spirits in 
such things as delight them, and suffer them not to 
tumultuate, or to carry themselves unquietly and way- 
wardly. Therefore, all the contemplators of natural 
things, which had so many and eminent objects to admire, 
were long-lived. 

Action, endeavor, and labor, undertaken cheerfully 
and with a good will, doth refresh the spirits; but with 
an aversation and unwillingness, doth fret and deject 
them. Therefore it conf erreth to long life, either that a 
man hath the art to institute his life so as it may be free 
and suitable to his own humor, or else to lay such a com- 
mand upon his mind, that whatsoever is imposed by for- 
tune, it may rather lead him than drag him. 

No doubt it furthereth long life, to have all things 
from our youth to our elder age mend and grow to the 
better; that a youth full of crosses may minister sweet- 
ness to our old age. 

One thing, above all, is grateful to the spirits : that 
there be a continual progress to the more benign. 
Therefore we should lead such a youth and manhood, 
that our old age should find new solaces, whereof the 



chief is moderate ease; and, therefore, old men in hon- 
orable places lay violent hands upon themselves, who 
retire not to their ease. But this thing doth require two 
cautions: one, that they drive not off till their bodies 
be utterly worn out and diseased, for in such bodies all 
mutation, though to the more benign, hasteneth death; 
the other, that they surrender not themselves to a slug- 
gish ease, but that they embrace something which may 
entertain their thoughts and mind with contentation. 

Ficino saith— not unwisely— that old men, for the 
comforting of their spirits, ought often to remember and 
ruminate upon the acts of their childhood and youth. 
Certainly, such a remembrance is a kind of peculiar 
recreation to every old man; and, therefore, it is a delight 
to men to enjoy the society of them which have been 
brought up together with them, and to visit the places 
of their education. Vespasian did attribute so much to 
this matter, that, when he was emperor, he would by no 
means be persuaded to leave his father's house,— though 
but mean,— lest he should lose the wonted object of his 
eyes and the memory of his childhood. And, besides, 
he would drink in a wooden cup tipped with silver, which 
was his grandmother's, upon festival days. 

The spirits are delighted both with wonted things 
and with new. Now, it maketh wonderfully to the con- 
servation of the spirits in vigor, that we neither use 
wonted things to a satiety and gluttiog, nor new things 
before a quick and strong appetite. Therefore, both 
customs are to be broken off with judgment and care, 
before they breed a fullness ; and the appetite after new 
things to be restrained for a time, until it grow more 
sharp and jocund. Moreover, the life, as much as may 
be, is so to be ordered, that it may have many renova- 
tions; and the spirits, by perpetual conversing in the 
same actions, may not wax dull. For though it were no 


HI saying of Seneca's, **The fool doth ever begin to 
live'*; yet this folly, and many more such, are good for 
long life. 

It is to be observed touching the spirits,— though 
the contrary used to be done, —that when men perceive 
their spirits to be in good, placid, and healthful state,— 
that which will be seen by the tranquillity of their mind, 
and cheerful disposition,— that they cherish them, and 
not change them; but when in a turbulent and untoward 
state,— which will also appear by their sadness, lumpish- 
ness, and other indisposition of their mind,— that then 
they straight overwhelm them and alter them. Now, the 
spirits are contained in the same state by a restraining 
of the affections, temperateness of diet, moderation in 
labor, indifferent rest and respose; and the contrary to 
these do alter and overwhelm the spirits; as, namely, 
vehement affections, profuse feastings, difficult labors, 
earnest studies, and prosecution of business. Yet men 
are wont, when they are merriest and best disposed, then 
to apply themselves to feastings, labors, endeavors, busi- 
ness; whereas, if they have a regard to long life,— which 
may seem strange,— they should rather practice the con- 
trary. For we ought to cherish and preserve good 
spirits; and for the evil-disposed spirits, to discharge 
and alter them. 

Grief and sadness, if it be void of fear, and afflict 
not too much, doth rattier prolong life. 

Great joys attenuate and diffuse the spirits, and 
shorten life. Great fears, also, shorten life; for though 
grief and fear do both strengthen the spirits, yet in grief 
there is a simple contraction; but in fear, by reason of 
the cares taken for the remedy, and hopes intermixed, 
there is a turmoil and vexing of the spirits. 

Whosoever is out of patience, is out of possession 
of his soul. 



Envy is the worst of all passions, and feedeth upon 
the spirits, and they again upon the body. Of all affec- 
tions, envy is the most importune and continual; there- 
fore it was well said, *'Envy keeps no holidays,^' for it 
is ever working upon some or other. It is also the vilest 
affection, and the most depraved; for which cause it is 
the proper attribute of the devil, who is called *'The 
envious man, that soweth tares amongst the wheat by 

Certainly, the more a man drinketh of the world, the 
more it intoxicateth. I cannot call riches better than the 
baggage of virtue. The Roman word is better, ^^impedi- 
menta''; for as the baggage is to an army, so is riches 
to virtue; it cannot be si)ared nor left behind, but it hin- 
dereth the march; yea, and the care of it sometimes 
loseth or disturbeth the victory. 

It is most certain, that passions always covet and 
desire that which experience forsakes. And they all 
know, who have paid dear for serving and obeying their 
lusts, that whether it be honor, or riches, or delight, or 
glory, or knowledge, or anything else, which they seek 
after; yet are they but things cast off, and, by divers 
men in all ages, after experience had, utterly rejected 
and loathed. 

There is a wisdom in this beyond the rules of 
physic: a man's own observation, what he finds good of, 
and what he finds hurt of, is the best physic to preserve 
health. But it is a safer conclusion to say, ^^ This agreeth 
not well with me, therefore I will not continue it"; than 
this, **I find no offense of this, therefore I may use it"; 
for strength of nature in youth passeth over many ex- 
cesses which are owing a man till his age. Discern of the 
coming on of years, and think not to do the same things 
still; for age will not be defied. Beware of sudden 
change in any great point of diet, and, if necessity enforce 



it, fit the rest to it; for it is a secret both in nature and 
state, that it is safer to change many things than one. 
Examine thy customs of diet, sleep, exercise, apparel, 
and the like; and try, in anything thou shalt judge 
hurtful, to discontinue it by little and little. 

Entertain hopes; mirth rather than joy; variety of 
delights, rather than surfeit of them; wonder and 
admiration, and therefore novelties ; studies that fill the 
mind with splendid and illustrious objects, as histories, 
fables, and contemplations of nature. If you fly physic 
in health altogether, it will be too strange for your body 
when you shall need it; if you make it too familiar, it 
will work no extraordinary effect when sickness cometh. 
Despise no new accident in your body, but ask opinion 
of it In sickness, respect health principally; and in 
health, action; for those that put their bodies to endure 
in health, may, in most sicknesses which are not very 
sharp, be cured only with diet and tendering. 

Physicians are some of them so pleasing and con- 
formable to the humor of the patient, as they press not 
the true cure of the disease; and some others are so 
regular in proceeding according to art for the disease, 
as they respect not sufficiently the condition of the 
patient Take one of a middle temper; or, if it may 
not be found in one man, combine two of either sort; 
and forget not to call as well the best acquainted with 
your body, as the best reputed of for his faculty. 

Toudung the length and shortness of life in living 
creatures, the information which may be had is but 
slender, observation negligent, and tradition fabulous. 
In tame creatures, their degenerate life corrupteth them; 
in wild creatures, their exposing to all weathers often 
intercepteth them. 

Man's age, as far as can be gathered by any certain 
narration, doth exceed the age of all other living 



creatareSy except it be of a very few only. No doubt 
there are times in every country wherein men are longer 
or shorter lived: longer, for the most part, when they 
fare less deliciously, and are more given to bodily exer- 
cises; shorter, when they abandon themselves to luxury 
and ease. The countries which have been observed to 
produce long livers are these: Arcadia, .^Itolia, India 
on this side Ganges, Brazil, Taprobane [Ceylon], Britain, 
Ireland, with the islands of the Orcades [Orkneys] and 
Hebrides. We read that the Esseans [Essenes], amongst 
the Jews, did usually extend their life to a hundred 
years. Now, that sect used a single or abstemious diet, 
after the rule of Pythagoras. The monks and hermits, 
which fed sparingly, and upon dry aliment, attained 
commonly to a great age. Amongst the Venetians there 
have been found not a few long livers, and those of the 
more eminent sort: Francis Donato, Duke; Thomas 
Contarini, Procurator of St. Mark; and others. But 
most memorable is Comaro the Venetian; who, being 
in his youth of a sickly body, began first to eat and drink 
by measure to a certain weighty thereby to recover his 
health; this cure turned by use into a diet; that diet to 
an extraordinary long life, even of a hundred years and 
better, without any decay in his senses, and with a con- 
stant enjoying of his health. 

Being admonished by Aristotle's observation touch- 
ing plants, that the putting forth of new shoots and 
branches refresheth the body of the tree in the passage; 
we conceive the like reason might be, if the flesh and 
blood in the body of man were often renewed, that 
thereby the bones themselves, and membranes, and other 
parts,— which in their own nature are less reparable,— 
partly by the cheerful passage of the juices, partly by 
that new clothing of the young flesh and blood, might 
be watered and renewed. If any man could procure 



that a young man's spirit conld be conveyed into an old 
man's body, it is not unlikely but this great wheel of the 
spirits might turn about the lesser wheels of the parts, 
and so the course of nature become retrograde. The 
spirit, if it be not irritated by the antipathy of the body 
inclosing it, nor fed by the overmuch likeness of that 
body, nor solicited nor invited by the external body, 
makes no great stir to get out 

We denounce imto men that they will give over 
trifling, and not imagine that so great a work as the 
stopping and turning back the powerful course of nature 
can be brought to pass by some morning draught, or the 
taking of some precious drug; but that they would be 
assured that it must needs be that this is a work of labor, 
and consisteth of many remedies, and a fit connection of 
them amongst themselves. 

If a man perform that which hath not been attempted 
before, or attempted and given over, or hath been 
achieved, but not with so good circumstance, he shall 
purchase more honor than by affecting a matter of 
greater difficulty, or virtue, wherein he is but a follower. 

Experience, no doubt, will both verify and promote 
these matters. And such, in all things, are the works 
of every prudent counsel, that they are admirable in their 


Voluptuous man 
la by superior faculties misled; 
Misled from pleasure even in quest of joy, 
Sated with Nature's boons, what thousands seek. 
With dishes tortur'd from their native taste. 
And mad variety, to spur beyond 
Its wiser will the jaded appetite! 
Is this for pleasure? Learn a juster taste! 
And Jenow that temperance is true luxury. 

Know, whatever 
Beyond its natural fervor hurries on 
The sanguine tide; whether the frequent bowl, 
High'Season'd fare, or exercise to toil 
Protracted; spurs to its last stage tired life. 
And sows the temples mth untimely snow. 

— John Armstrong. 


Sblboted and Abbanqed fbom 


Health and Long Lire" 


I can truly say, that, of all the paper I have blotted, 
which has been a great deal in my time, I have never 

written anything for the public without the intention 
of some public good. Whether I have succeeded, or no, 
is not my part to judge; and others, in what they tell 
me, may deceive either me or themselves. Good inten- 
tions are at least the seed of good actions; and every 
man ought to sow them, and leave it to the soil and the 
seasons whether they come up or no, and whether he or 
any other gathers the fruit. 

I have chosen those subjects of these essays, wherein 
I take human life to be most concerned, and which are 

♦ See Note C 



of most common use, or most necessary knowledge ; and 
wherein, though I may not be able to inform men more 
than they know, yet I may, perhaps, give them the occa- 
sion to consider more than they do. All men would be 
glad to be their own masters, and should not be sorry 
to be their own scholars, when they pay no more for 
their learning than their own thoughts, which they have 
commonly more store of about them than they know what 
to do with. Of all sorts of instructions, the best is 
gained from our own thoughts as well as experience; 
for though a man may grow learned by other men's 
thoughts, yet he will grow wise or happy only by his 
own— the use of other men's toward these ends, is but 
to serve for one's own reflections. 

Some writers, in casting up the goods most desirable 
in life, have given them this rank: health, beauty, and 
riches. Of the first I find no dispute, but to the two 
others much may be said; for beauty is a good that 
makes others happy rather than one's self; and how 
riches should claim so high a rank, I cannot tell, when 
so great, so wise, and so good a part of mankind have, 
in all ages, preferred poverty before them. All the 
ancient philosophers— whatever else they differed in— 
agreed in this of despising riches, and at best esteeming 
them an unnecessary trouble or encumbrance of life; so 
that whether they are to be reckoned among goods or 
evils is yet left in doubt. 

The two great blessings of life are, in my opinion, 
health and good humor; and none contribute more to 
one another. Without health, all will allow life to be 
but a burden; and the several conditions of fortune to 
be all wearisome, dull, or disagreeable, without good 
humor; nor does any seem to contribute toward the 
true happiness of life, but as it serves to increase that 



treasure, or to preserve it. Whatever other differences 
are commonly apprehended in the several conditions of 
fortune, none, perhaps, will be found so true or so great 
as what is made by those two circumstances, so little 
regarded in the common course or pursuits of mortal 

Health in the body is like peace in the State and 
serenity in the air. Health is the soul that animates all 
enjoyments of life, which fade and are tasteless, if not 
dead, without it. A man starves at the best and the 
greatest tables, and is poor and wretched in the midst 
of the greatest treasures and fortunes. With common 
diseases, strength grows decrepit; youth loses all vigor, 
and beauty all charms ; music grows harsh, and conversa- 
tion disagreeable; palaces are prisons, or of equal con- 
finement; riches are useless; honor and attendance are 
cumbersome ; and crowns themselves are a burden. But 
if diseases are painful and violent, they equal all con- 
ditions of life, and make no difference between a prince 
and a beggar. The vigor of the mind decays with that 
of the body, and not only humor and invention, but even 
judgment and resolution, change and languish with ill 
constitution of body and of health; and, by this means, 
public business comes to suffer by private infirmities, 
and Kingdoms or States fall into weaknesses and dis- 
tempers or decays of those persons that manage them. 
I have seen the counsels of a noble country grow bold 
or timorous, according to the fits of his good or ill health 
that managed them; and the pulse of the government 
beat high or low with that of the governor. Thus, acci- 
dents of health grow to be accidents of State; and public 
constitutions come to depend, in a great measure, upon 
those of particular men. 

To know that the passions or distempers of the mind 



make our lives unhappy, in spite of all accidents and 
favors of fortune, a man, perhaps, must be a philosopher 
and requires much thought, and study, and deep reflec- 
tions. To be a Stoic, and grow insensible of pain, as 
well as poverty or disgrace, one must be, perhaps, some- 
thing more or less than a man, renounce common nature, 
oppose common truth and constant experience. But 
there needs little learning or study, more than common 
thought and observation, to find out that ill health loses 
not only the enjoyments of fortune, but the pleasures of 
sense, and even of imagination; and hinders the com- 
mon operations both of body and mind from being easy 
and free. Let philosophers reason and differ about the 
chief good or happiness of man; let them find it where 
they can, and place it where they please; but there is 
no mistake so gross, or opinion so impertinent,— how 
common soever,— as to think pleasures arise from what 
is without us, rather than from what is within. 

But to leave philosophy, and return to health. 
Whatever is true in point of happiness depending upon 
the temper of the mind, 'tis certain that pleasures depend 
upon the temper of the body; and that, to enjoy them, 
a man must be well himself. Men are apt to play with 
their health and their lives, as they do with their clothes. 
To find any felicity, or take any pleasure in the greatest 
advantages of honor and fortune, a man must be in 
health. Who would not be covetous, and with reason, if 
this could be purchased with gold? who not ambitious, 
if it were at the command of power, or restored by 
honor! But, alas I a white staff ^11 not help gouty feet 
to walk better than a common cane; nor a blue ribbon 
bind up a wound so well as a fillet; the glitter of gold 
or of diamonds will but hurt sore eyes, instead of curing 
them; and an aching head will be no more eased by 
wearing a crown thtm a common nightcap. 



If health be such a blessing, and the very source of 
all pleasure, it may be worth the pains to discover the 
regions where it grows, the springs that feed it, the 
customs and methods by which it is best cultiyated and 
preserved. Toward this end, it will be necessary to 
consider the examples or instances we meet with of 
health, and long life, which is the consequence of it; and 
to observe the places, the customs, and the conditions of 
those who enjoyed them in any degree extraordinary; 
from whence we may best guess at the causes, and make 
the truest conclusions. 

Health and long life are usually blessings of the 
poor, not of the rich; and the fruits of temperance, rather 
than of luxury and excess. And, indeed, if a rich man 
does not, in many things, live like a poor, he will cer- 
tainly be the worse for his riches: if he does not use 
exercise, which is but voluntary labor; if he does not 
restrain appetite by choice, as the other does by neces- 
sity; if he does not practice sometimes even abstinence 
and fasting, which is the last extreme of want and pov- 
erty. If his cares and his troubles increase with his 
riches, or his passions with his pleasures, he will cer- 
tainly impair in health, whilst he improves his fortunes, 
and lose more than he gains by the bargain; since health 
is the best of all human possessions, and without which 
the rest are not relished or kindly enjoyed. 

It is observable in story, that the ancient philoso- 
phers lived gejierally vely long; which may be attributed 
to their great temperance,' and their freedom from com- 
mon passions, as well as cares, of the world. The 
Brazilians, when first discovered, lived the most natural 
original lives of mankind, so frequently described in 
ancient countries, before laws, or property, or arts made 
entrance among them; they lived without business or 



labor, further than for their necessary food, by gather- 
ing fruits, herbs, and plants; they knew no drink but 
water; were not tempted to eat nor drink beyond com- 
mon thirst or appetite; were not troubled with either 
public or domestic cares; nor knew any pleasures but 
the most simple and natural. Many of these were said, 
at the time that country was discovered by the Europe- 
ans, to have lived two hundred, some three hundred 

From these examples and customs it may probably 
be concluded, that the common ingredients of health and 
long life— where births are not impaired from the con- 
ception by any derived infirmities of the race they come 
from— are great temperance, open air, easy labor, little 
care, simplicity of diet, and water— which preserves the 
radical moisture without too much increasing the radical 
heat; whereas sickness, decay, and death proceed com- 
monly from the one preying too fast upon the other, and 
at length wholly extinguishing it. 

I think temperance deserves the first rank among 
public virtues, as well as those of private men; and doubt 
whether any can pretend to the constant, steady exercise 
of prudence, justice, or fortitude, without it That 
which I call temperance, is a regular and simple diet, 
limited by every man's experience of his own easy 
digestion, and thereby proportioning, as near as well 
can be, the daily repairs to the daily decays of our wast- 
ing bodies. Temperance, that virtue without pride, and 
fortune without envyl that gives indolence [repose] of 
body, and tranquillity of mind; the best guardian of 
youth, and support of old age; the precept of reason, 
as well as religion; the physician of the soul, as well as 
the body; the tutelar goddess of health, and universal 
medicine of life; that clears the head, and cleanses the 



blood; that strengthens the nerves, enlightens the eyes, 
and comforts the heart 1 

No degree of temperance can, I think, be too great 
for the cure of most diseases to which mankind is 
exposed, rather by the viciousness, than by the frailty, 
of their natures —diseases by which we often condemn 
ourselves to greater torments and miseries of life than 
have, perhaps, been yet invented by anger or revenge, 
or inflicted by the greatest tyrants upon the worst of 
men. I know not whether some desperate degrees of 
abstinence would not have the same effect upon other 
men, as they had upon Atticus; who, weary of his life 
as well as his physicians by long and cruel pains of a 
dropsical gout, and despairing of any cure, resolved by 
degrees to starve himself to death; and went so far, 
that the physicians found he had ended his disease 
instead of his life. 

For one life that ends by mere decay of nature or 
age, millions are intercepted by accidents from without 
or diseases within; by untimely, deaths or decays; from 
the effects of excess and luxury, immoderate repletion 
or exercise. Men are, perhaps, most betrayed to all 
these dangers by great strength and vigor of constitu- 
tion, by more appetite and larger fare, in colder cli- 
mates ; in the warm, excesses are found more pernicious 
to health, and so more avoided; and if experience and 
reflection do not cause temperance among them, yet it 
is forced upon them by the f aintness of appetite. I can 
find no better account of a story Sir Francis Bacon tells, 
of a very old man, whose customs and diet he inquired; 
who said he observed none besides eating before he was 
hungry and drinking before he was dry, for by that 
rule he was sure never to eat nor drink much at a time. 
I do not remember, either in story or modem observa- 



tion, any examples of long life common to any parts of 
Europe, which the temper of the climate has probably 
made the scene of luxury and excesses in diet. 

And, I doubt, pleasures too long continued, or rather 
too frequently repeated, may spend the spirits, and 
thereby life, too fast, to leave it very long; like blowing 
a fire too often, which makes it indeed bum the better, 
but last the less. For as pleasures perish themselves 
in the using,-— like flowers that fade with gathering,— 
so 'tis neither natural nor safe to continue them long, 
to renew them without appetite, or ever to provoke 
them by arts or imagination where Nature does not 
call; who can best tell us when and how much we need, 
or what is good for us, if we were so wise as to consult 

The faintness of appetite, especially in great cities, 
makes the many endeavors to relieve and provoke it by 
art, where nature fails; and this is one great ground of 
luxury, and so many, and various, and extravagant 
inventions to heighten and improve it; which may serve 
perhaps for some refinement in pleasure, but not at all 
for any advantages of health or of life. On the con- 
trary, all the great cities, celebrated most by the con- 
course of mankind, and by the inventions and customs 
of the greatest and most delicate luxury, are the scenes 
of the most frequent and violent plagues, as well as 
other diseases. 

In the course of common life, a man must either 
often exercise, or fast, or take physic, or be sick; and 
the choice seems left to everyone as he likes. The first 
two are the best methods and means of preserving 
health; the use of physic is for restoring it, and curing 
those diseases which are generally caused by the want 
or neglect of the others; but is neither necessary, nor 



perhaps useftil, for confirming health, or to the length 
of life, being generally a force npon nature— thongh the 
end of it seems to be rather assisting nature, than oppos- 
ing it in its course. Nature knows her own wants and 
times so well, as to need little assistance; leave her to 
her course, who is the sovereign physician in most 
diseases, and leaves little for others to do. 

'Tis true, physicians must be in danger of losing 
their credit with the vulgar, if they should often tell a 
patient he has no need of physic, and prescribe only 
rules of diet or common use; most people would think 
they had lost their fee. But the first excellen(5e of a 
physician's skill and care is discovered by resolving 
whether it be best in the case to administer any physic 
or none— to trust to nature or to art; and the next, to 
give such prescriptions, as, if they do no good, may be 
sure to do no hann. 

In the midst of such uncertainties of health and of 
physic, for my own part, I have, in the general course 
of my life, trusted to God Almighty; to nature; to tem- 
perance or abstinence ; and the use of common remedies, 
vulgarly known and approved, like proverbs, by long 
observation and experience, either of my own, or such 
persons as have fallen in the way of my observation or 
inquiry. The best cares or provisions for life and health 
consist in the discreet and temperate government of 
diet and exercise, in both which all excess is to be 

As hope is the sovereign balsam of life, and the best 
cordial in all distempers both of body or mind; so fear, 
and regret, and melancholy apprehensions—with the 
distractions, disquiets, or at least intranquillity, they 
occasion— are the worst accidents that can attend any 
diseases; and make them often mortal, which would 



otherwise pass, and have had but a common course. I 
have known the most busy ministers of state, most for- 
tunate courtiers, most vigorous youths, most beautiful 
virgins, in the strength or flower of their age, sink under 
common distempers, by the force of such weights, and 
the cruel damps and disturbances thereby given their 
spirits and their blood. 'Tis no matter what is made 
the occasion, if well improved by spleen and melancholy 
apprehensions : a disappointed hope, a blot of honor, a 
strain of conscience, an unfortunate love, an aching 
jealousy, a repining grief, will serve the turn, and all 

I remember an ingenious physician, who told me, 
in the fanatic times, he found most of his patients so 
disturbed by troubles of conscience, that he was forced 
to play the divine with them before he could begin the 
physician; whose greatest skill, perhaps, often lies in 
the infusing of hopes, and inducing some composure and 
tranquillity of mind, before he enters upon the other 
operations of his art This ought to be the first 
endeavor of the patient, too; without which, all other 
medicines may lose their virtue. In all diseases of body 
or mind, it is happy to have an able physician for a 
friend, or discreet friend for a physician; which is so 
great a blessing, that the wise man will have it to pro- 
ceed only from God, where he says: **A faithful friend 
is the medicine of life, and he that fears the Lord shall 
find him.*^ 

Greece, having been the first scene of luxury we 
meet with in story, and having thereby occasioned more 
diseases, seemed to owe the world that justice of pro- 
viding the remedies. Among the more simple and orig- 
inal customs and lives of other nations it entered late, 
and was introduced by the Grecians. In ancient Baby- 



From the painting by Sir Peter Lely— No. 152, National Portrait Gallery, 


Photograph copyrighted by Walker and Cockerell 


Ion— how great and populous soever— no physicians 
were known, nor other methods for the cure of diseases, 
besides abstinence, patience, and domestic care. 

Whoever was accounted the god of physic, the prince 
of this science must be by all, I think, allowed to have 
been Hippocrates, whose writings are the most ancient of 
any that remain to posterity. He was a great philosopher 
and naturalist, before he began the study of physic, to 
whidi both these are perhaps necessary. His rules and 
methods continued in practice as well as esteem, without 
any dispute, for many ages, till the time of Galen; and I 
have heard a great physician say, that his aphorisms are 
still the most certain and uncontrolled of any that science 
has produced I will judge but of one, which, in my 
opinion, has the greatest race and height both of sense 
and judgment that I have read in so few words, and the 
best expressed: ^^Ars longa, vita brevis, experientia 
fallax, occasio praBceps, judicium dif&cile'' [^^ Art is long, 
life is short, experience deceptive, opportunity sudden, 
decision dif&cult "] . By which alone, if no more remained 
of that admirable person, we may easily judge how great 
a genius he was, and how perfectly he understood both 
nature and art. In the time of Adrian, Galen began to 
change the practice and methods of physic, derived to 
that age from Hippocrates; and those of his new 
institution continue generally observed to our time. Yet 
Paracelsus, about two hundred years ago, endeavored to 
overthrow the whole scheme of Galen, and introduce a 
new one of his own, as well as the use of chemical 
medicines; and has not wanted his followers and ad- 
mirers ever since. 

I have, in my life, met with two of above a hundred 
and twelve; whereof the woman had passed her life in 
service ; and the man, in common labor, till he grew old. 


and fell upon the parish. But I met with one who had 
gone a much greater length, which made me. more curious 
in my inquiries : 'twas an old man, who told me he was 
a hundred and twenty-four years old. I have heard, and 
very credibly, of many in my life, above a hundred years 

One comfort of age may be, that, whereas younger 
men are usually in pain, when they are not in pleasure, 
old men find a sort of pleasure, whenever they are out of 
pain. And, as young men often lose or impair their 
present enjoyments, by raving after what is to come, by 
vain hopes, or fruitless fears; so old men relieve the 
wants of their age, by pleasing reflections upon what is 
past Therefore men, in the health and vigor of their 
age, should endeavor to fill their lives with the worthiest 
actions,— either in their public or private stations,— that 
they may have something agreeable left to feed on, when 
they are old, by pleasing remembrances. But, as they 
are only the clean beasts which chew the cud, when they 
have fed enough; so they must be clean and virtuous men 
that can reflect, with pleasure, upon the past accidents or 
courses of their lives. Besides, men who grow old with 
good sense, or good fortunes, and good nature, cannot 
want the pleasure of pleasing others, by assisting with 
their gifts, their credit, and their advice, such as 
deserve it. 

Socrates used to say, that 'twas pleasant to grow old 
with good health and a good friend. But there cannot 
indeed live a more unhappy creature than an ill-natured 
old man, who is neither capable of receiving pleasures, 
nor sensible of doing them to others ; and, in such a con- 
dition, it is time to leave them. 

Thus have I traced, in this essay, whatever has fallen 



in my way or thoughts to observe concerning life and 
health, and which I conceived might be of any public use 
to be known or considered; the plainness wherewith it 
is written easily shows there could be no other intention; 
and it may at least pass, like a Derbyshire charm, which 
is used among sick cattle, with these words: ^'If it does 
thee no good, it will do thee no harm/' 


I wotM recommend to everyone that admirable 
precept which Pythagoras is said to have given to his 
disciples . . . ; "Pitch upon that course of life which 
is the w^st excellent, and custom wUl render it the m^st 
delightful." Men whose circumstances will permit 
them to choose their own way of life are inexcusable if 
they do not pursue that which their judgment tells 
them is the most laudable. The voice of reason is more 
to be regarded than the bent of any present inclination, 
since, by the rule above mentioned, inclination will at 
length come over to reason, though we can never force 
reason to comply with inclination. — Joseph Addison. 


A Short Histobt 



SoMs Account 



A Eulogy upon Louis Cornaro 


Babtolombo Oamba 

"Thc Villas Ercctcd by Louis Cornaro" 


Db« Pbof. Emilio Loyabiki 

Health, brightest visitant from heaven, 

Orant me with thee to rest I 
For the short term by nature given. 

Be thou my constant guest I 
For aU the pride that wealth bestows. 
The pleasure that from children flows. 
Whatever we court in regal state 
That makes men covet to be great; 

Whatever sweets we hope to find 

In Lovers delightful snare; 
Whatever good by Heaven assigned. 

Whatever pause from care: 
All flourish at thy smile divine; 
The spring of loveliness is thine. 
And every joy that warms our hearts. 
With thee approaches and departs. 

— Robert Bland. 




CoRNARO Family 


Nor can the shiUfvl herald trace 
The founder of thy ancient race. 

— Jonathan Swift. 

The noble steeds, and harness bright. 
And gallant lord, and stalwart hnight. 
In rich array — 

Where shall we seek them nowf Alas I 
Like the bright dewdrops on the grass. 
They passed away. 

— Manrique (trans, by Longfellow). 

NEVER was parent better repaid by the steadfast devo- 
tion of her children than was that Mistress of the 
Seas, who, century after century, was the wonder 
and admiration of mankind ; the center of the trade and finance 
of the world, supreme as she was in every mart; the most 

The abt of living long 

valiant defender of civilization in its wars against the Turks; 
as well as the example to humanity, and its inspiration, in all 
the arts of peace. 

Among her patriotic sons and daughters, none labored in 
her service with a more earnest self-denial than did the mem- 
bers of the illustrious patrician family of CORNARO, whose 
name is found interwoven for centuries in every honorable 
particular of the remarkable history of the Republic of 
Venice. Almost every line of the annals of this celebrated 
family shows unmistakably that their ambition, their aspira- 
tion, their toil, their courageous exposure — ^and often sacri- 
fice — of life and fortune, were always for the advancement 
of their country's safety and glory, for which their own was 
counted as naught; determined, as they were, that Venice 
should excel in virtue, power, and splendor, any land which 
presumed to be her rivals and that her children should thus 
enjoy a life of happiness and security. This, for generations, 
was the ruling passion and guiding principle of this proud 
and noble family. 

The Cornari, the history of whom, for generations, added 
imperishable fame to their illustrious source, were descended, 
according to the most authoritative traditions of the 
chroniclers, from the ancient and noble race of the Cornelii* 
of Rome. Having in remote times settled at Rimini, 
they were subsequently among the first inhabitants of Rialto, 
the name by which Venice was known in its infancy. The 
orthography of the name, during the family's long history, 
was gradually modified ; so that, from Comelii, it became suc- 
cessively Cornelli, Coronelli, Coronetti, Coronarii, and finally 
Cornaro, or Corner. The names Comer and Cornaro are 
identical, the first being the abridged Italian form of the 
Venetian Cornaro; in the i8th century some members of the 
family adopted that of Corner, by which all are now known. 
(To be uniform, the ancient mode, that of Cornaro, is adhered 
to throughout this work.) 

Having been enrolled among those who comprised the 

* See Note L 



body of the Venetian nobility, the Cornaros were included 
among the first twelve patrician families of the Republic, 
called the apostolical, or tribunal families, which for centuries 
gave the military tribunes to the Republic ; many of the family 
were members also of the famous Great Council, established 
in 1 172. 

In the 14th century, the family separated into two. 
distinct branches, the first of which was distinguished by 
contemporaries, and later by historians, by the name of 
Cornaro of the Great House; the other was that of Cornaro 
Piscopia, so called from the castle and fief of Piscopia which 
they had acquired in the island of Cyprus, and which, formerly 
the property of Giovanni Ibelini, Count of Jaffa, had come 
into the possession of this branch of the family by a grant 
from the king, in 1363, to Federico (Frederick) Cornaro. 
This was the branch to which Caterina (Catherine) Cornaro, 
Queen of Cyprus; Elena Lucrezia (Helen Lucretia) Cornaro, 
the famous scholar; and Louis Cornaro, the author of "The 
Temperate Life," belonged. After the ascent of Caterina to 
regal power, by her marriage, in 1468, to James of Lusignan, 
King of Cyprus, the branch known as Cornaro of the Great 
House was also designated by the name of Cornaro of the 
Queen. It was then, also, that the family quartered with 
their own the royal arms of Cyprus, as shown in their coat 
of arms on page six. 

To attempt even a short biography of all the many dis- 
tinguished members of this noted family would be im- 
possible in a work of this nature; however, abbreviated 
sketches of the lives of a few among those most cele- 
brated may be of interest to the reader, and are to be found 
elsewhere in this volume. Few family records, in any country, 
show so large a number of members who have, by such a 
variety of paths, attained exalted station. The list comprises 
a queen, four princely doges of the Venetian Republic, twenty- 
two procurators of St. Mark, nine cardinals, and a host of 
names made illustrious by noteworthy achievement. As 



valiant leaders in peace or war; as honored councillors and 
trusted diplomats; as reverend senators and magistrates; in 
letters; philosophy; the sciences; and the arts, — ^the descend- 
ants of the Cornelii have proudly blazoned a record upon the 
scroll of fame that few historic families can equal. 

Yet, of all this illustrious number, to that plain and unas- 
suming gentleman and true nobleman, Louis Comaro, 
the veteran author of "The Temperate Life," is due the 
greatest distinction — ^the gratitude of all n^ankind. 

That the tjiemory of the race of Comaro is indelibly 
preserved in marble and granite, the palaces, once the 
homes of illustrious members of the family; many of the 
churches of Venice, built by their aid, and often wholly 
or in part at their expense; and the monuments, erected by 
reverent descendants or by a grateful country to do honor to 
the memory of individuals of this family, — emphatically 
though silently testify. 

In the Church of Sant' Apostoli — ^built largely at the 
expense of the family, and rebuilt in 1750 — ^is a magnificent 
Comaro Chapel, supported by fanciful Corinthian pillars. 
This chapel — erected in 1575 — contains the sepulchral urn of 
Marco (Mark) Comaro, father of Queen Caterina, and that 
of her brother, the famous nobleman Giorgio (George) Cor- 
naro— the husband of Elisabetta Morosini — ^who died July 31, 


In the magnificent Italian-Gothic Church of Santi Gio- 
vanni e Paolo, better known as San Zanipolo, and often called 
The Westminster Abbey of Venice, — ^begun in I234, but not 
finished until 1430, — is the gorgeous mausoleum of the Doge 
Marco Cornaro, the sarcophagus decorated with roses, the 
canopy above it adorned with five very beautiful statues, the 
work of the most celebrated Venetian sculptors of the Middle 
Ages; here also may be seen the sepulchral urn of Pietro 
(Peter) Comaro, who died in 1361. 

In the Church of San Salvatore, — ^begun in 1506 and 
completed about 1534, — ^where lie the remains of Queen 
Caterina, in the center of a Corinthian portico there is a 



beautiful monument erected to her memory in the year 1570, 
the relief representing her resigning her crown to Doge 
Agostino Barbarigo (the 74th doge of Venice, 1486-1501) ; as 
well as one erected in the i6th century to three Cornaro car- 
dinals, Marco, Francesco (Francis), and Andrea (Andrew). 
In the Church of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari — 
designed about 1250, and containing the colossal monument 
of Titian, unveiled in 1853 — ^is the chapel of Angelo Cornaro, 
sculptured in marble (15th century). In the Church of Santa 
Maria della Salute — founded in 163 1 as a monument of thanks- 
giving for the cessation of the great plague, and thus known 
as one of The Great Plague Churches of Venice — is the 
sepulchral urn of Antonio (Anthony) Cornaro, rich in carv- 
ings (i6th century). In the Church of San Pietro di Castello 
— ^the Cathedral of Venice from the earliest days of the 
Republic until 1807 — is the urn of Filippo (Philip) Cornaro, 
very rich in ornaments (i6th century). In the Seminary (II 
Seminario) is the urn of another Antonio Cornaro, with bas- 
reliefs representing infants and griffins (i6th century). 
There is also a Cornaro monument in the Church of I 

It is impossible to do justice, in this work, to the beauty 
and grandeur, or to the historic associations, of the sev- 
eral magnificent palaces in Venice, once the homes of 
members of the Cornaro family, but now either inhabited by 
strangers, or else converted to the use of the public or of the 
government; consequently, we shall allude to them very 

At that part of the venerable city known as Sant' Apo- 
stoli, is a Cornaro Palace of the i6th century, the whole facade 
of which was originally painted in fresco. At San Samuele, 
and facing upon the Grand Canal, is an imposing Cornaro 
Palace, which, in the early part of the i8th century, was the 
home of the nobleman Girolamo (Jerome) Cornaro. Another, 
at San Canciano, was, in the i8th century, the home of the 
senator and famous author Flaminio (Flaminius) Cornaro. 

At San Cassiano, in the Street of the Queen, is the Cor- 



naro Palace of the Queen, the old name of palace and street 
being still retained ; here was born, in 1454, Caterina Cornaro, 
afterward Queen of Cyprus. The ancient pile, however, does 
not exist, the present one having been erected upon the site 
of the old one in 1724. The new edifice, inelegant in style, 
manifests the decadence of art; but the entrance from the 
Grand Canal is really imposing, and is said to have cost an 
immense sum. This structure is now a Mount of Piety 
(Italian, Monte di pieta), a government establishment, the 
object of which is to lend money, no matter how small in 
amount, at only a nominal interest, to those who are in neces- 
sity; this custom, originating in Italy in the isth century, 
has since been adopted in various countries. 

Giovanni (John) Cornaro, nephew of Queen Caterina, 
built, in 1548, upon an old site in the square of San Polo, what 
is now known as the great Cornaro-Mocenigo-Revedin Palace, 
of which Sammicheli was the architect. This palace gave to 
the neighboring street the name of Cornaro. The Cornaro 
Palace of the Great House, a massive and magnificent pile, 
with a Doric, Ionic, and Composite front, was erected (by 
Sansovino) in 1532, at San Maurizio, by the nephews of Queen 
Caterina; it faces the Grand Canal, and is now the office of 
the Royal Prefect of the Province. There are two other Cor- 
naro Palaces on the Grand Canal: one in the Court of the 
Tree, now called the Cornaro-Spinelli Palace, a work of the 
Renaissance ; the other, at San Benedetto, at the comer of the 
Canal of the Mails, is now called the Cornaro-Mocenigo 
Palace, and is used as the office of the city's water-works. 

The Cornaro-Piscopia Palace at San Luca — Plater called, 
and still known as, the Loredan Palace, and now used as the 
palace (or offices) of the municipality of Venice — ^was, in the 
14th century, the residence of Federico Cornaro, whose guest 
Peter of Lusignan, King of Cyprus, was in 1363 and 1364. 
To show his gratitude, in addition to the grant of the fief of 
Piscopia in his kingdom, the King created Cornaro a knight 
of an ancient Cyprian order, having for its motto "To main- 
tain loyalty" (*Tour loyaut^ maintenir"). To perpetuate 
the memory of this visit of the King, Cornaro caused to be 



graven upon the front of his palace on the Grand Canal, the 
royal arms of Cyprus beside those of the Cornaros, together 
with the knightly emblem of his order; there they may be 
seen to this day. The exact age and origin of this palace, 
an early Byzantine one, are not known ; but it is believed to 
date back as early as the loth or nth century. In "The 
Stones of Venice" Ruskin says of it : "Though not conspicu- 
ous and often passed with neglect, the Loredan Palace, will, 
I believe, be felt at last, by all who examine it carefully, to be 
the most beautiful of all the palaces in the whole extent of 
the Grand Canal. It has been restored often, once in the 
Gothic, once in the Renaissance times — some writers say even 
rebuilt; but, if so, rebuilt in its old form." It was in this 
palace, in the year 1646, that that marvel of her age, Elena 
Lucrezia Cornaro, was bom. 

When the great name of Cornaro and the prosperity of 
the family were at their zenith, their sumptuous palaces were 
filled with memorials of the glorious history of their ances- 
tors. These mute testimonials to the prowess of warriors, 
as well as to the victors in more peaceful pursuits, were to 
be seen in an abundance more than sufficient to satisfy the 
most ambitious. 

Nor will the visitor in Venice, once familiar with its 
streets, have any reason for ignorance of the existence of the 
name of Cornaro; for here, too, will he be confronted by 
mementos of this ancient family. 

At San Maurizio, the footway and bridge known as Cor- 
naro Zaguri lead to the Cornaro Palace of the Great House, 
as the Street of the Queen, at San Cassiano, leads to the Cor- 
naro Palace of the Queen ; and the street which gives access 
to the Cornaro Palace that faces on the Grand Canal, at San 
Samuele, is still called Cornaro. Another, bearing the family 
name, is Cornaro Street, near the square of San Polo, named 
after the palace in the square. 

The Cornaro family began to be interested in the 
Paduan country for the first time, so far as is known by 



the records, in the year 1406, when Francesco Cornaro 
became the proprietor of a portion of the confiscated property 
of the ancient lords of Carrara — ^from 1318 to 1405 the sover- 
eign lords of Padua. The palace on the Via Melchiorre 
Cesarotti in Padua, built by Louis Cornaro, is still in exist- 
ence, and is known as the Cornaro Palace. In the Church 
of San Antonio in Padua, one of the most remarkable build- 
ings in Italy, — ^begun about 1230 and completed in 1307, — 
there is a monument dedicated to Caterino Cornaro, General 
of the Republic of Venice in the wars against the Turks. 

When Caterina became Queen of Cyprus, the power 
of the Cornaro family in that kingdom was naturally in- 
creased. It is certain, however, that they were not only 
residents of the island, but possessed considerable in- 
fluence there, for a long time prior to this event; and it is 
known that, in the middle of the 14th century, their wealth 
and position were such that the king resorted to them for a 
considerable loan of money. At the court of Cyprus, Venice 
was regularly represented by a consul; and some contempo- 
raneous documents go to prove the zeal which the Venetian 
Senate showed in having his appointed salary paid, and in 
seeing, at the same time, that the debts contracted by that 
court with Venetian merchants and bankers should be dis- 
charged. In one of these documents, dated September 17, 
I455» i^ is deplored that ''injustice should have been commit- 
ted, to the damage of the heirs and claimants of Giovanni 
Cornaro"; and, furthermore, that "the noble citizen Marco 
Cornaro," father of Caterina, "should have been injured in 
his rights in not receiving that which the king owed him." 
The tutelage of Venice over Cyprus was, indeed, so diligent 
as to interest the king in the solution of a question of water 
necessary for the good culture of the sugar-cane in the fief 
of the Cornaros. 

But with the glory, the power, and the commanding 
influence of The Queen of the Adriatic, that, too, of the 
race of the Comari has well-nigh departed. The fortunes 



and personality of a house whose opulence and great- 
ness were seldom, if ever, surpassed by any of their country- 
men, and the lives of whose sons and daughters have fur- 
nished themes for an almost endless number of writers, are 
now but a memory. In Venice there are, to-day, five families 
who bear the name, and who, as descendants of the old race, 
are recognized as belonging to the Venetian patriciate. Not 
a Cornaro, however, lives in the halls of his ancestors. But 
the patriotic fire of the lords of generations ago still bums 
in the breasts of their children ; proud of the history of their 
family, they still hold Queen Caterina especially dear; and, 
in order to perpetuate the memory of that noble woman, a 
custom was long since instituted to give the name of Caterino 
to a male child, in the event of the denial, to any family, of 
a girl baby. 

Among the many portraits of the members of this cele- 
brated family — not elsewhere mentioned in this work — ^is that 
of Giorgio Cornaro, in the collection of the Earl of Carlisle; 
and The Cornaro Family, in Alnwick Castle, the baronial 
residence of the dukes of Northumberland, — ^both by Titian. 


Man's rich with little, were his jvdgment true; 
Nature is frugal, and her wants are few; 
These few wants, answered, bring sincere delights; 
But fools create themselves new appetites. 

At thirty, man suspects himself a fool. 
Knows it at forty, and reforms his plan; 
At fifty, chides his infamous delay. 
Pushes his prudent purpose to resolve. 
In aU the magnanimity of thought; 
Resolves, and re-resolves, then dies the same. 
And whyf Because he thinks himself immortal 
All men think all men mortal but themselves. 

— Edward Young. 





The Cornaro Tamily 

Fbom Lives thus spent thy earthly Duties lbasn ; 
Fbom Fancy's Dbbams to aotive Yibtub then: 
Let Fbeedom, Friendship, Faith, thy Soul enoaob. 
And sebve, like them, thy Countby and thy Aob.* 

most illustrious women of the Renaissance, was the 
daughter of Marco Cornaro— grandson of the Doge 
Marco Cornaro — ^and Fiorenza, his wife ; and was born in the 
city of Venice, November 25, 1454, in that Cornaro Palace 
to which — as well as to the present one, built in the i8th cen- 
tury on the site of the ancient structure — ^the fact of her birth 

*From a mural tablet in The First Church, Quincy, Massa- 
chusetts; placed there in memory of John Adams, the second 
President of the United States, and Abigail Smith, his wife. 



and of her subsequent elevation to royal power gave the name 
of the Cornaro Palace of the Queen, and, to the street m which 
it is located, the name of the Street of the Queen. 

Her brilliant, though mournful, history has afforded a 
theme for many writers in all languages. Giving evidence 
at an early age of rare qualities of mind, character, and per- 
son, — ^for there were few, if any, of her countrywomen who 
excelled her in charm and grace, — she was educated with the 
scrupulous care due the daughter of a royal house ; as on her 
mother's side she had an imperial ancestry by reason of her 
descent from the Comneni emperors of Trebizond. She was 
married July lo, 1468, — ^when not yet fifteen years of age, — 
with the most gorgeous and extraordinary ceremonies and pub- 
lic rejoicings, to James of Lusignan, King of Cyprus, whose 
love for her was first aroused on seeing her portrait in the 
hands of her uncle, Andrea Cornaro ; at the same time she was 
adopted by the Venetian Senate as The Daughter of the 
Republic, in order that her rank might equal that of her hus- 
band; and a dowry of one hundred thousand golden ducats 
was presented to her. 

In 1473, on the death of her husband in his thirty-third 
year, she succeeded him on the throne as Queen of Cyprus; 
in August, 1474, she suffered the loss of the infant Prince 
James, her only child — ^bom August, 1473; and after a 
troubled reign of sixteen years, — during which time she 
acquired the well-deserved reputation of a very superior, 
wise, energetic, liberal woman, — worried by political jealousies 
and intrigues, she abdicated, February 26, 1489, in favor of 
the Venetian Republic. On her return to Venice, she was 
received with great pomp and consideration, the reigning 
doge himself meeting her in the celebrated historic Bucen- 
taur.* The beautiful country-seat and castle of Asolo, nine- 
teen miles from Treviso and still in existence, was given her 
in sovereignty; this, together with her palace in Venice, she 
made her home for the remainder of her life, spending her 
time in works of charity, in the cultivation of her rural 
retreat, and in the pleasures of art and literature — maintain- 
ing at Asolo a court for poets, scholars, and artists. 

* See Note M 



Her death occurred at Venice, July lo, 1510; and the 
body of the dead Queen was followed by all the dignitaries 
of Church and State, as well as by a vast concourse of citi- 
zens, to its resting-place in the Comaro Chapel in the Church 
of Sant' Apostoli ; whence it was removed in 1660, and placed 
in her mausoleum in the right transept of the Church of San 
Salvatore, where it now lies. The inscription, in Latin, 
plainly marks the final home of the remains of "Catherine, 
Queen of Cyprus, Jerusalem, and Armenia." 

Her eminent relative. Cardinal Bembo, in his ''Gli Aso- 
lani," pays a high tribute to her intellectual qualities, as well 
as her many womanly virtues. Her portrait, taken at the 
age of eighteen, in her crown and queenly robes, was painted 
by Titian; another, by Veronese, hangs in the Belvedere at 
Vienna; while the one by Pordenone is in the Dresden Gal- 
lery. A magnificent painting of her by Makart hangs in the 
National Gallery at Berlin ; in it, as Queen of Cyprus, she is 
seen receiving the proffered homage of the Venetian patri- 

NARO PISCOPIA, one of the most accomplished and illus- 
trious women of her day, was born at Venice, June 5, 1646, 
in the Comaro Piscopia Palace — now the Loredan. She was 
the daughter of Giovanni Battista (John Baptist) Comaro, 
Procurator of St. Mark, and of Zanetta Boni, his wife. 

Naturally of a very retiring as well as devotional dis- 
position, she wished to enter some religious order; but her 
father's entreaties altered her purpose. For, recognizing, while 
she was still a child, her extraordinary gifts, he determined 
that nothing should interfere with his cherished ambition 
that his family should possess, in the person of his beautiful 
daughter, — ^though so delicate and modest, and averse to the 
world or to any kind of publicity, — ^the most learned woman 
of her day. This purpose he realized, albeit at the early 
sacrifice of the health, and, indeed, of the life, of the innocent 
victim of his paternal and ancestral pride. 



Although entirely devoid of wordly ambition, yet, in 
order that she might not disappoint the parent whose every 
hope was centered in his daughter's triumph, she devoted all 
her energies to the task assigned her; so that, such were her 
wonderful powers of mind and memory, she soon excelled in 
every branch of learning. She acquired a perfect knowledge 
of many of the modern languages, — ^writing them with ease 
and speaking them fluently, — as well as of Latin, Greek, 
Hebrew, and Arabic. Her natural taste for poetry and music 
was so highly cultivated, that she sang, in a sweet and flexible 
voice, her own verses in various languages, set to music of her 
own composition, and to her own accompaniment, either on 
the viol, harp, or harpsichord. She became a perfect mistress 
of many of the arts and sciences, and of ancient and modern 
history, including, of course, that of her own country and 
family. In theology, philosophy, and dialectics she was no 
less accomplished. In a word, her response to her father's 
appeal was so sincere that, although deaf to the applause of 
all,-— nay, embarrassed by the admiration she constantly ex- 
cited, distasteful to her as it was unavoidable, — ^she became a 
miracle of learning. 

On a certain occasion, the haughty Venetian Senate went 
so far as to suspend an important session, in order that they 
might go in a body to hear a disputation in which, with that 
eloquence for which she was noted, she was engaged in the 
presence of an illustrious gathering, as was the fashion of the 
time. Contrary to her wishes, she was created a master of 
arts and doctor of philosophy by the renowned University of 
Padua, — founded early in the 13th century by the Emperor 
Frederick II., — receiving the title of Unalterable. The cere- 
mony, which took place June 25, 1678, in the Cathedral of 
Padua, was attended by illustrious scholars of all countries, 
and was witnessed by an immense multitude, attracted by the 
unwonted spectacle. She was also elected to membership in 
all the principal literary societies of Italy. At Rome, she was 
admitted at the University, and was entitled The Humble; 
and princes and representatives of all nations paid homage to 



her learning and virtues. Her hand was asked in marriage 
by some of the most noted men of her time ; all of these offers, 
however, in obedience to a resolution made in her girlhood, 
she declined. 

Her uninterrupted application to her studies, but es- 
pecially the atmosphere of unwelcome publicity in which she 
had always lived, — so uncongenial and often painful to her 
sensitive nature, — completed the ruin of her naturally delicate 
health. Although anticipating her death to be not far distant, 
yet, to further please her father, — ^blind to her critical condi- 
tion, — she wrote eulogies upon many of the most eminent per- 
sonages of her day; these were followed by her remarkable 
panegjrric on the Republic of Venice. 

But the replies to these final efforts, which had been 
accomplished at such a fearful cost to her health and life, 
found the illustrious maiden stretched upon a bed of pain, 
which, in a short time, proved to be her couch of death — the 
release from her sufferings coming to her in the city of Padua, 
July 26, 1684. From that day to the 29th,— the day of her 
funeral, — ^when her body was laid to rest in the Church of 
Santa Giustina, the city, with all affairs suspended, presented 
the spectacle of a universal, heartfelt grief, so deeply in the 
affections of all was she enshrined. Her death was recorded 
by poetical effusions from the learned of Europe. In an 
eloquent oration, pronounced at a funeral solemnity performed 
in her honor at Rome, she was celebrated as triumphing over 
three monsters. Pride, Luxury, and Ignorance. At the foot 
of the staircase on the right of the entrance to the University 
of Padua, is a statue erected to her memory in 1773. 

The first edition of her works was published at Parma in 

MARCO (MARK) CORNARO, the sgth doge of 
Venice, held that princely and historic office from July 21, 
1365, to January 13, 1368, when he died at the age of eighty- 
two— one of the most famous doges of The Golden Book.* 
During his term the Venetians waged a bitter war against the 

♦ Sec Note N 



Turks and, also, subdued the rebellion in Candia. His tomb 
is in the Church of Santi Giovanni e Paolo. 

GIOVANNI (JOHN)— I.— CORNARO, the 96th doge of 
Venice, was elected January 4, 1625, as the successor 
of Francesco Contarini (doge, 1623-1624). During his 
reign the Venetians defended Mantua against the Imperial 
army ; about which period a severe plague raged in Venice and 
throughout northern Italy. At this time, also, occurred a 
bitter feud between the powerful Zeno family— descendants 
of Renier Zeno, the 45th doge of Venice, 1253-1268 — and his 
own. Cornaro died December 23, 1629. 

doge of Venice, was born May 6, 1585. He was the son of 
Doge Giovanni (I.) Cornaro, and was chosen to his exalted 
ofHce May 17, 1656. During his very short term — he died 
June S of the same year — ^the Venetians continued their 
victories over the Turks. 

GIOVANNI (JOHN)— II.— CORNARO, the iiith doge 
of Venice, was born August 4, 1647. ^^^ mother, Cornelia 
Contarini, was of that illustrious family which gave the 
great Republic eight of its one hundred and twenty doges, 
a greater number than can be claimed for any other family. 
He was elected doge May 22, 1709. During his administration 
the Turks made war on Venice and, in 1715, took the Morea. 
He concluded these hostilities by the peace of Passarowitz, 
July 21, 1718. It was during his term that Venice lost her 
last possessions in the island of Candia. He died August 21, 
1722. He married his relative, Laura Cornaro, who survived 
him, dying in May, 1729. He also left three sons, Francesco, 
Nicol6 (Nicholas), and Alvise. 

three Venetian commanders in the struggle with the Genoese 
known as the War of Chioggia (1379-1381), impoverished 



himself by the voluntary sacrifice of his princely fortune to the 
use of his country. In August, 1379, when it was thought 
the Genoese might attack the city, arms were distributed to 
the people, and Comaro was placed in command. 

GIORGIO (GEORGE) CORNARO, nephew of the 
Doge Marco Comaro, held during his lifetime many positions 
of trust and responsibility, both civil and military. He was 
a nobleman of sterling worth and considerable influence, his 
exalted patriotism inspiring ceaseless efforts for the welfare 
of his country; and such was the exposure consequent to 
his zeal in his profession of arms, that it caused the sacrifice 
of his health, and finally of his life, in her service. He died 
December, 1439, ^^^ ^^s remains were followed by the entire 
population of Venice to their final resting-place in the Cornaro 
Chapel in the Church of Sant' Apostoli. 

ANDREA (ANDREW) CORNARO, a Venetian noble- 
man, and uncle of Caterina, Queen of Cyprus, was an exten- 
sive trader in that island. He and his nephew, Marco Bembo, 
were murdered during the political disturbances subsequent 
to the death of Caterina's husband. King James. 

MARCO CORNARO, son of Giorgio Comaro and Elisa- 
betta Morosini his wife, and nephew of Queen Caterina, be- 
came Patriarch of Constantinople. He was a very eminent 
man and of great service to Venice. He died at that city, 
July 20, 1524. 

FRANCESCO CORNARO was born in 1488. In eariy 
years he followed a military life, and became distinguished 
as a leader in the army of Venice in the wars — ^in which 
his country became involved— caused by the rival ambitions 
of Francis I., King of France, and Charles V., Emperor 
of Germany. When peace was secured he abandoned 
the profession of arms and devoted himself to politics and 
literature, becoming the ambassador of the Republic to the 



court of Charles V. He was a man of great learning, and, in 
1527, was created a cardinal. He died September, 1543, in 
his fifty-fifth year, and was buried in the Church of San 
Salvatore, where his monument may still be seen. 

ALVISE (LOUIS) CORNARO, Knight of Malta and 
Grand Prior of Cyprus, was bom February 12, 1516, and died 
at Rome, May 10, 1584. 

FEDERICO CORNARO, son of the Doge Giovanni 
(I.) Cornaro, was made Patriarch of Venice in 1632. He 
was Grand Prior of Cyprus, and died June 5, 1653, at the age 
of seventy-eight. 

25, 1632; he succeeded the illustrious Francesco Morosini 
as Captain-General of the Venetian army when, in 1688, 
the latter was elected the io8th doge of the Republic — 
the last of that family to attain the ducal dignity. Comaro's 
valuable services to his country were, however, cut short in 
1690 by his untimely death from fever at Valona, — a seaport 
town in Albania, European Turkey, — ^which the Turks had 
held since 1464, and the Venetians, under his command, had 
besieged and recovered. His loss was regarded as a great 

a younger brother of the Doge Giovanni (II.) Cornaro, 
was born August i, 1658. His early years were spent in the 
military service of his country; abandoning this, he entered 
the field of politics, holding many offices of considerable 
responsibility, for which his great learning, and the experience 
gained by extensive foreign travel, eminently qualified him. 
In 1692 he represented Venice at the court of Portugal, and 
was later tendered the office of ambassador to the French 
king; this honor, however, he declined, preferring to embrace 
an ecclesiastical life. He was a member of the order of 



Knights of Malta, a religious and military order instituted in 
the nth century; was also Grand Prior of Cyprus, an office 
hereditary in his family; and was made a cardinal July 22, 
1697. He died August 10, 1722. 

Venice, February 4, 1693, where he died December 28, 1778. 
He was a Venetian Senator, and was distinguished for great 
learning, attaining eminence as a hagiographer, historian, and 
antiquarian. He was the author, in 1749, of a valuable work 
on the churches of Venice (15 vols.)> and of another on those 
of Torcello (3 vols.)- His home was the Comaro Palace at 
San Canciano, in Venice. 

ANDREA CORNARO was Governor of the island of 
Candia, and fell while fighting valiantly at Retimo, on the 
northern coast of the island. 


Health is, indeed, so necessary to all the duties as 
well as pleasures of life, that the crime of squandering 
it is equal to the folly; and he that for a short grati- 
fication brings weakness and diseases upon himself, and 
for the pleasure of a few years passed in the tumuUs 
of diversion and clamors of merriment condemns the 
maturer and more experienced part of his life to the 
chamber and the couch, may be justly reproached, not 
only as a spendthrift of his happiness, but as a robber of 
the public; as a wretch that has voluntarily disqualified 
himself for the business of his station, and refused that 
part which Providence assigns him in the general task 
of human nature. — Samuel Johnson. 



Louis Cornaro 








ON this most impressive occasion, amid these appropriate 
surroundings, after the dignified speeches you have 
heard, I shrink from addressing you, my Lord Count 
the Governor, supreme magistrates of this city, most learned 
professors, worthy scholars — all of you, my kind hearers ; but 
I speak in grateful submission to the honorable charge laid 
upon me, in obedience to the statutes of this Royal Academy, 
which direct that every year shall be renewed the praises of 
those among our national geniuses who have so distinguished 
themselves as to be most deserving in the three divine arts of 

To-day, since this august temple of the Muses is more 
resplendent than ever, he should not presume to attempt ful- 
filling this noble office who but imperfectly knows and under- 

* See Note O 



stands their alluring graces. As for me, to come forth as 
little ingloriously as possible from this difficult undertaking, 
I intend to devote my efforts to another object; and I trust 
that I shall see your courtesy smile upon me, if, leaving aside 
pencil, rule, and chisel, I look rather toward those who 
protect artists, and call your attention to a most remarkable 
Maecenas.* I shall thus, overcoming any excessive timidity, 
be able to entertain you a little regarding the advantages 
which students of the Academy may derive from this kind of 
tutelage; and I shall present to you, in his proper light, a 
great man of the sixteenth century who belonged to the order 
of the Venetian patriciate. 

LOUIS CORNARO is known to all cultured nations by 
the famous abstemiousness of his long career and by the 
golden rules he formulated concerning the temperate life; 
but it is not perhaps so well known how deeply versed he was 
in the arts, how much he loved artists, and how faithfully he 
labored in their interest. I shall speak now of these merits 
of his, and I shall do it with the rapidity of a hasty traveler 
who does but lightly observe and examine. If I turn my eyes 
upon Cornaro in preference to so many other great men, who, 
for the good of the arts, were nurtured upon these shores, I 
trust the choice will be approved; since it will bear upon a 
subject honorable to our fellow-citizens, pleasing to our 
worthy professors, useful to these valiant youths — one which 
may, in fine, be heard patiently by every kind and gentle soul. 

Of the youthful years of our Cornaro, spent in Padua, 
there is little to say, and that little were better left unsaid. 
Although well trained in excellent studies, as became a gentle- 
man of fine intellect, he admits that he soon put his studies 
aside, and wasted his time in thoughtlessness and excesses; 
from which cause he contracted infirm health and such bad 
habits that, having arrived at the age of thirty-five, he had 
nothing left to hope for but that he might end in death the 
sufferings of a worn-out and disconsolate life. Let us not 
linger, my dear young men, over this state of affairs, which, 
happily, we shall soon see corrected ; but let us learn, by his 

* See Note P 



example, how important it is to follow the straight path of 
virtue and study. Though the contrary way of dissipation and 
idleness may seem, to some, to be one of peace and calmness, 
in reality it is nothing but war and storm. 

When he had grown ripe in years and judgment, his 
inborn love having unfolded toward those sister arts which 
are the dearest ornaments of our native land, Cornaro found 
in them the truest, most useful, and most delightful enter- 
tainment. Let us listen to the substance of his words: "O 
most honorable gentlemen, great in intellect, in manners, and 
in letters, and you who excel in some other quality, come with 
me to honor the arts and artists, and, in doing so, obtain 
satisfaction and comfort 1. . . I live in the most beautiful part 
of this noble and learned city of Padua, and derive from it a 
thousand advantages. I build according to architecture, enjoy 
my several gardens, and always find something to delight 

me In April and May, as also in September and October, 

I find other pleasures in enjoying a country-seat of mine 
among the Euganean Hills, — in the finest site thereof, — with 
its fountains and gardens, and, above all, its commodious and 
beautiful abode ; also my villa in the plain, which is very fine, 
with streets and a square, and a church much honored;. . . a 
country, which, once deserted on account of bad air and 
marshy waters, is now, by my labors, all rich in inhabitants 
and fields most fertile ; so that I may say, with truth, that in 
this spot I have given to God an altar, a temple, and souls to 
adore Him. . . . Here I take pleasure with men of fine intellect — 
architects, painters, sculptors, musicians, and agriculturists; 
for, indeed, with such men our age is abundantly furnished." 

And you well know, gentlemen, how fruitful that age 
was in fine minds. Happy age 1 Private individuals vied with 
noblemen and princes to rejoice the heavens with splendid 
light; and, thanks to this union of choice spirits, the genius 
of Italy was aroused, literature came to the fore, the arts 
thrived, and a refined delicacy was diffused into every liberal 
study. Let us not stir from this incomparable Venice of ours 
and we will see that, if her noblest citizens — a Daniel Barbaro, 
a Cardinal Bembo, a Doge Gritti, a Cardinal Grimani, a 



Giorgio Trissino of Vicenza, and our own Cornaro — had not 
lived, the world would perhaps have never seen a Titian, a 
Paolo [Veronese], a Sammicheli, a Palladio. How many, 
indeed, are the opportunities of an intelligent protector 1 
Besides showing himself liberal of his substance, he converses 
with his learned friend, whose inventions and fancies are thus 
fostered ; he goes to the office of the rich merchant, into whom 
he transfuses the enthusiasm with which he himself is filled;... 
nor does he neglect any occasion whatsoever that the arts 
may gloriously flourish. In Greece, the mother of all elegance 
and philosophy, the Porticos and the Piraeus became earth and 
brambles, once the ages of Pericles and Alexander were past ; 
and in earth and brambles the Laocoon and the Apollo for 
centuries lay buried. 

Among the many artists for whom Cornaro entertained 
a strong affection, — ^proofs of which he has left us, — I shall 
limit myself to telling you of one. Giovanni Maria Falconetto* 
of Verona, who excelled as painter, architect, and sculptor, 
flourished in his day. This man was a good speaker, frank 
and pleasant ; and, after having wandered hither and thither, 
he found a refuge in the hospitable home of our Cornaro, 
who offered him the most generous recognition. These two 
souls were soon united in close fellowship ; and there followed 
many learned and agreeable conversations, and the most 
valued friendship and intimacy. 

A large collection of drawings, which Falconetto had 
brought with him from Rome, so fascinated Cornaro with the 
attractions of that queenly city that he insisted upon going 
to visit it, in company with his friend. He departed for Rome, 
rich in expectations; most rich in knowledge, he returned to 
his beloved Padua. There he erected a magnificent loggia, 
decorated it with paintings, statues, and pictures taken from 
the designs of Raphael, and inclosed in its courtyard a most 
noble casino, devoted to music — all under the superintendence 
and according to the directions of his friend Falconetto. He 
also availed himself of his assistance in other grand construc- 
tions at his villa at Codovico, on the Paduan hill, and at 
Luigiano, near Torreglia, among the Euganean Hills. Nor 

* See Note E 



did the happy alliance between the Maecenas and the artist 
ever cease; and the latter was comforted at his death by the 
assurance that the most hospitable kindness would ever be 
lavished upon his wife, three sons, and six daughters, the 
fortunes of all of whom remained, in fact, at the mercy of the 
credit and authority of their patron and friend. The candid 
soul of Louis bore so great a predilection to Falconetto and 
another happy mind, the Paduan Ruzzante,* that Vasari has 
related, in his works, how Cornaro wished that Falconetto and 
Ruzzante should be buried together, and that he might be 
the third to share the same grave — ^in order that (says the 
historian) ''not even after death should their bodies be 
separated, whose souls friendship and virtue had united 
whilst living." 

I have pointed out some of the edifices designed and 
erected by Cornaro ; and it will be pleasing to you, gentlemen, 
if I remind you that the magnificent loggia raised in Padua 
is still in existence and much admired, and that the very cele- 
brated architect Sebastiano Serlio proposed the designs of this 
masterpiece to the studious as a model worthy of imitation. 
Temanza, in his account of the life of Falconetto, also speaks 
to us, at length, of the buildings erected in the villa at Codo- 
vico, where he still found remains of perfect invention and 
execution ; it was there he discovered a portrait of our most 
honored Maecenas, one that I should like to see decorating 
this magnificent hall on this solemn occasion in which I am 
striving to recall his deeds. Temanza was not well informed 
when speaking to us of the palace at Luigiano, which he 
believed had been built near the Sile, not far from the city of 
Trevigio, and razed by time ; but to the culture and knowledge 
of the illustrious Knight Giovanni de Lazzara, I owe — and 
you do, likewise — ^the pleasing news that this structure, with 
its truly royal stairways, remains standing in that most 
delightful spot I have spoken of among the Euganean Hills. 
It has become the property of the famous Bishopric of Padua, 
and does not belie the estimate given of it in his day by our 
Francesco Marcolini, who, in one of his dedications, wrote 
thus: "If a gentleman wishes to learn how to build in the 

* See Note Q 



city, let him come to the Cornaro Palace at Padua If he 

wishes to lay out a garden, let him also find his model 

there If he wants to build in the country, let him go and 

see at Codovico, at Campagna, and at other places, the 

structures created by the nobility of Comaro's great soul 

If he wants to build a palace fit for a prince,— out of the city, 
too, — let him go to Luvignano, where he will behold a 
dwelling worthy to be inhabited by a pontiff or an emperor ;. . . 
Cornaro knows all there is to know in this and in the rest of 
human undertakings." Note, my hearers, that the engraver 
Marcolini was no ordinary man; but was indeed a most 
famous artist, and so skilled in the mechanical sciences that 
he was praised to the skies by Daniel Barbaro himself. 

And here I wish to interrupt my narrative a while to 
listen to you, gentlemen, who take pleasure in considering 
the things which I propound. It seems to me you would 
wish to rejoin: "Granted, that thy Cornaro was the mirror 
of Maecenases — and who does not know that to them the 
arts owe both favor and increase? and we may add that 
they owed these same things at one time to the majesty of 
religion, now enfeebled,. . .and also to many men of wealth 
grown poor to-day. Let a Cornaro return now, and with 
him a Titian and a Paolo ; let the artists return in throngs, — 
what of it? Poor father of a family, thou dost spend, and 
indeed waste, for that son of thine who is now a studious 
scholar in this Academy, but who runs the risk of remaining 
afterward destitute, without bread and without fortune 1 
Poor boy, thou bumest the midnight oil in the sweat of thy 
brow, but in the future thou wilt, perforce, be inactive; and 
it would be wrong to dare thee to the field of valor, where 
there will be no palms to gather when thou hast attained 
thy end!" 

I shall not invoke the shade of the Venetian Maecenas 
to answer similar whisperings; for, if our times are not his, 
it is to ours we must conform. I wish to say, however, that 
many unfounded difficulties proceed from vain fears. If 
religion, the comforter, seems to have become feeble, or to 
have lost its power with some, the neglect of a few is not 



a fault to be laid to the many; and all know that a society 
without religion is like a ship without rudder or sails. Do 
we not see it burning bravely in the hearts of our ruler and 
so many of his excellent magistrates ; burning in the honored 
breasts of the best of our citizens ; burning in the bosoms of 
noble matrons and of the humble peasant girls? And you 
need but enter the churches to see the solemn services always 
attended by throngs of people, or to journey through the 
country to witness respect and veneration everywhere mani- 

It is only too true that the murderous weapons from 
beyond the hills, catching us unarmed, deprived us of a great 
part of our riches; and, alasl too often now the oak stands 
bare which used to tower in vigor. But, perhaps, rather than 
to the lukewarmness of divine worship or the swords of the 
enemy, we might attribute to other causes the scarcity of 
work among our artists. It is incessantly repeated that we 
have become poor ; but how is it, then, that there is im- 
moderate luxury in all that regards outward pomp? that an 
Indian fabric, a bit of Sevres porcelain, a piece of Birming- 
ham earthenware, the gold and silver spun in France or 
Germany, and many other useless but costly trifles from 
foreign countries, never lie dusty in our shops, while the hands 
of our artists are idle? Pray do not lead me to exclaim that 
there is among us more poverty concerning the true love of 
our country's splendor, than poverty of goods. 

The conditions of modem Italy would with difficulty 
give us back a Comaro; but there must be other means for 
the protection of the arts, even without so much power as his. 

This Adria of ours is no longer, such as the illustrious 
Roberti depicted it, "Like to the ancient Tyre, whose navi- 
gators were her Phoenicians; when its commerce, which 
raised up the towers and halls of the lagoons, at the same 
time made the country everywhere populous and honored." 
Nevertheless, for an active Maecenas of the arts, an earnest 
magistrate is often sufficient; frequently one enlightened 
citizen is enough, or the wise pastor of a church ; and, indeed, 
we see active Maecenases in not a few of the latter, who, in 



the midst of rural surroundings, erect magnificent temples 
enriched in many ways. By enthusiasm, intelligence, and 
activity, we shall see our buildings repaired and beautified, 
and our houses more properly decorated with the riches of our 
national productions — thus, in a word, our cities ennobled. 
Call to mind, gentlemen, that through the activity and fervor 
of one of our pastors in these latter days, the temple of Santi 
Giovanni e Paolo has been transformed into a magnificent 
gallery ; that the worthy Knight Morelli has there rearranged 
and enriched, with many relics of the fine arts, a library, the 
most splendid abode Apollo and Minerva could have ; that the 
Prefect of the Seminary, Giannantonio Moschini, has con- 
verted a dilapidated building into a magnificent and ornate 
lyceum; that our most illustrious President, whom I name 
not to flatter but to honor, and who is always intent upon 
honorable undertakings which nourish the arts and carry 
their teachings to the farthest shores, has obtained for you 
from our rulers the means by which this Academy now ranks 
above all others. Seeing all this, let us rejoice and take com- 
fort — ^you especially, most learned professors. Rejoice that 
you are the fortunate ministers who maintain here the sacred 
fire of the divine works of the intellect, and know all that is 
exquisite and hidden in their structure. Take comfort in the 
names of. . .many who were once your scholars and who are 
now the solace and help of their families, their brows wreathed 
with crowns of honor woven for them by your teachings. 
And you, dearest youths, who are this day prepared to receive 
new and much-desired laurels, never pay heed to the reports 
spread by ignoble fear, but redouble your earnestness in study ; 
and you will thus become the delight of your friends and the 
honor of your country. 

Let us return now to Louis Cornaro, and follow him in 
what we may of his long life ; nor let us abandon him until its 
last day. Oh, how I wish the chroniclers had been less 
niggardly to us I For, history having passed over in silence 
so many of the personal acts of that gentle spirit, we cannot 
now know positively either all his works or many of his 
writings ; but must be content with the little we have, which, 



like the plan of a majestic building, suffices only to make us 
guess at the grandeur of the structure and the splendor of its 
decorations. The few letters which remain to us from his 
pen, show how well versed he was in every noble science; 
and, being addressed to great men, such as Bembo, Speroni, 
Barbaro, and Fracastoro, they suffice to show of what ex- 
cellence were his ties of friendship. He left nothing undone 
that would promote intellectual enjoyment. The celebrated 
tragedy, "CEdipus," by Giovanni Andrea dell' Anguillara, he 
caused to be sumptuously presented under his own roof for 
the recreation of the Paduans. The "Canace" of Speroni was 
also to have been given in Padua with singular magnificence, 
and to our Louis was entrusted the direction of the perform- 
ance. Forcellini, in his biography of Speroni, relates that 
Comaro's companions in this were Alessandro Piccolomini 
and Angelo Beolco, called Ruzzante; and that, besides hav- 
ing provided music, costumes, and luxurious scenery for the 
beauty of the performance, he had prepared a great banquet 
for forty chosen gentlewomen and their husbands, the 
academicians and the flower of the men of merit who were 
at that time in Padua ; but the unexpected death of Ruzzante 
put an end to all these plans. Finally, we know how deeply 
he had studied the works of Vitruvius and Leon Battista 
Alberti; and that he was much praised by Andrea Palladio, 
as the inventor of a new kind of stairway introduced into his 
habitations. Nor is that all ; for he dictated various treatises 
concerning painting, architecture, music, and agriculture. 
But the only writings which were not destroyed by time, are 
the discourses upon his cherished temperate life — ^translations 
of which were published in many foreign tongues — and a 
learned pamphlet upon our lagoons, which he used to style 
"the most strong and holy ramparts" of his dear country. 

I, who like to borrow the words of the aged, which 
breathe candor and simplicity and add faith to speech, beg 
you to hear with me how a cultured Tuscan man of letters, 
Antonmaria Graziani, in the life he wrote of the celebrated 
Commendone, — ^whose secretary he was, — ^points out the many 
blessings which our Comaro was in the habit of receiving 



from the virtuous temper of his soul. His words are in the 
Latin tongue, and this is their import in ours: "This most 
honorable man, whom the surname of Temperate became so 
well, was courted, revered, and respected by all, whether 
those of eminent birth or those distinguished by great in- 
tellect; and men of all ranks of society were eager to visit 
him, for the pleasure of hearing his conversation, which was 
always moderate, pleasant, and ingenious. Prudence, wis- 
dom, sagacity, counsel, and liberality formed about him a 
most beautiful and splendid body-guard. No house in Padua 
was more looked up to than his; and he, always magnificent 
and bountiful, never ceased to bestow upon all — ^but, in an 
especial manner, upon those conversant with the fine arts — 
every favor of a generous and perfect soul." . . . 

But I shall lead you at length, gentlemen, to the last 
days of Louis Comaro; and it will be sweet to you to know 
that to spend one's time unceasingly for the common good 
is to lay up precious consolation for the last hour of our lives. 
And here I shall again make use of Graziani*s words, that 
you may see how the tranquil and restful end of our great 
man. . .was as serene as the beautiful sunset of an unclouded 
day. "The good old man" (I follow the faithful translation) 
"feeling that he drew near the end, did not look upon the 
great transit with fear, but as though he were about to pass 
from one house into another. He was seated in his little bed 
— ^he used a small and very narrow one ; and, at its side, was 
his wife, Veronica, almost his equal in years. In a clear and 
sonorous voice he told me why he would be able to leave this 
life with a valiant soul ; and he expressed the best wishes for 
the happiness of my Commendone, to whom he insisted upon 
writing with his own hand a letter of advice and consolation. 
He told me he thought he might yet survive two days; but, 
feeling a little later the failure of vital forces, and having 
received anew the assistance of consoling religion, ... he ex- 
claimed: 'Glad and full of hope will I go with you, my good 
God!' He then composed himself; and having closed his 
eyes, as though about to sleep, with a slight sigh he left us 
forever." A departure joyful and enviable, but how great a 



misfortune to the world 1 For the loss of men of so great 
wisdom is irreparable ; nor is an3rthing left to us but to follow, 
as far as may be, their authority and example. . . . 

Dear and noble youths, this solemnity is sacred chiefly 
to you ; and, addressing you, I shall close my discourse. With 
the voice of warmest affection, I urge you to be industrious 
in winning for yourselves the patronage of the prince and the 
assistance of the Maecenas; and never again to forget Louis 
Cornaro and the artist Falconetto, his friend. Yes, to-day 
also you will find protectors, if, having made for yourselves 
a treasure of all domestic virtues, you broaden the sphere of 
your intellect with a great variety of knowledge; and if you 
will bear in mind that he does not win fame and celebrity 
who is slothful, but rather does he who works night and day, 
so far as human nature will permit. Livy and Plutarch have 
described for us Philopoemen, an illustrious leader of armies, 
and have narrated the great labors and efforts which bore 
him to celebrity. Reynolds set that general as an example 
before his yotmg scholars, and showed them that not less 
arduous are the labors and efforts of the artist who would 
ascend the heights of immortality. Therefore, we all trust 
to your talent and good-will ; and by you, valiant youths, this 
city will continually rise to greater luster ; which, for delight- 
fulness of climate, vividness of genius, holiness of institutions, 
majesty and splendor of buildings, and for the purest milk 
afforded the three divine sister arts, has ever been famous 
throughout the whole world. 


"0 flowerets of the fieldr Siddartha said, 

''Who turn your tender faces to the sun, — 

Olad of the light, and grateful with sweet breath 

Of fragrance and these rohes of reverence donned. 

Silver and gold and purple, — none of ye 

Miss perfect living, none of ye despoil 

Your happy beauty, ye palms! which rise 

Eager to pierce the sky and drink the wind 

Blown from Malaya and the cool blue seas; 

What secret know ye that ye grow content. 

From time of tender shoot to time of fruit. 

Murmuring su^^h sun-songs from your feathered crowns f* 

— Sir Edwin Arnold. 


Cpcctcd by Louis Cornapo 





rAMOUS for his treatise, "The Temperate Life," which 
has not only been translated into several languages, but 
has seen many editions, the illustrious Venetian gentle- 
man, Louis Cornaro, deserves imperishable renown, likewise, 
for the great and useful love which he bore for the arts — 
particularly for architecture. 

"He delighted," we have from Serlio, "in all the noble 
arts and singular attainments; and especially was he fond of 
architecture." It was in the latter that he acquired his title 
to undying fame, as even his contemporaries acknowledged. 
Among these was Ortensio Lando, who, wishing to praise 
him, made this merit precede all others when he called him 
"a great builder, an enthusiastic hunter, and a man of pro- 
found piety." 

* See Note R 

♦♦ From Vol 11., Nos. VI. -Vll.,— April -July i899,-o£ "L'Arte" of Rome. 



Architecture was not for him, as it is for so many, purely 
a luxury, and a means by which he could exhibit his riches 
to the envious and wondering eyes of his equals, and of the 
world in general. Rather was it the object of an ardent wor- 
ship ; so much so that he became not only a friend, but even 
a helper and companion, of his artist proteges. 

He studied the works of Vitruvius, Leon Battista Alberti, 
and other writers, and visited the ancient and modern archi- 
tectural monuments; he originated, according to Palladio, 
"two kinds of stairways"; and he composed a work on 
architecture, which a relative of his, in a letter dated January 
27, 1554, insisted should be published; but nothing came of it, 
and it has never been known. 

Fortunately, instead of a treatise on the subject, he left 
something better to us, in the form of several very hand- 
some buildings. Much more would he have left had his 
means allowed it; for, as Vasari writes, "He was a man of 
great genius and of a truly regal spirit — ^the truth of this 
statement being proved by so many of his honored under- 
takings." This opinion is perfectly in accord with that of 
Pietro Valeriano, who, in a Latin dedication of a work to 
Cornaro, wrote: "To-day, np private individual understands 
better than you the science, beauty, and elegance of construc- 
tion, or has more artistically turned his knowledge to practical 
use. Had, perchance, a destiny worthy of your great soul 
befallen you, our age would be considered inferior to no 
ancient one in the development of such a noble art." 

What he did accomplish, however, is undoubtedly well 
worthy of being recorded. The ingenious Francesco Marco- 
lini, an expert printer and artist, and designer of the bridge 
"whence Murano watches Venice," was the first and last to 
prepare a list, which is thus the only one we have, of Comaro's 

One finds this list in a letter, dated June i, 1544, in which 
the editor, — Marcolini,— dedicating to Cornaro the fourth 
book of Serlio, writes: "To you alone can one give the 
name of 'executor' of true architecture, as is attested by the 



splendid edifices ordered by your superhuman intellect. If a 
nobleman or private gentleman wishes to know how to build 
in a city, let him come to the Comaro Palace at Padua; 
there he will learn how to construct not only a superb 
portico, but also the other parts of sumptuous and com- 
fortable buildings. If he wishes to adorn a garden, let him 
take, as a model, the one you have arranged, not only under 
your dwelling, but crossing beneath the highroad for twenty 
paces — all in rustic style. If he is desirous of building in the 
country, let him go to Codevigo, to Campagna, and to the 
other places where he will find the buildings which are the 
product of your great genius. Whoever wishes to build 
a princely palace — ^also away from the city — ^may go to 
Luvignano ; there he will view, with astonishment, a mansion 
worthy of a pope or an emperor, or, at any rate, of any prelate 
or gentleman — ^a mansion erected by the wisdom of your 
Excellency, who knows all that is possible in this and other 
human achievements." 

With all the exaggerations to be noted in the laudatory 
expressions of those times, Cornaro is by Marcolini called 
merely the "executor" of true architecture ; this does not mean 
that he was the author of all those magnificent edifices, but 
rather that they were "ordered" by him, as is added later on. 

It ought to have been known even in that time — as 
Vasari tells us, though it is omitted above — ^that, even if 
Comaro was the architect of his palace in Padua, "the beau- 
tiful and richly ornamented portico," close by, was the work 
of the skillful Falconetto* — a fact which is also mentioned in 
the inscription existing above the central archway. It should, 
moreover, be remembered that Falconetto "worked a great 
deal with the said Comaro." Without further proofs, and 
without any documents, we think it quite useless at the 
present day to try to discover, by the examination of the archi- 
tectural style alone of what remains, how much is the work 
of the one and how much that of the other. Equally devoted 
to classical art, they lived together twenty-one years in an 
unintermpted unison of feelings and ideas; so much so, that 

* Sec Note E 



Comaro expressed a wish that he might be buried in one 
tomb with his friend — ^"so that their bodies might not be 
separated in death, whose souls in this world had been united 
by friendship and virtue." 

With these facts before us, it does not seem right to 
accept the opinion of some, who, like Temanza, see Falco- 
netto's work wherever Cornaro has built ; or that of others who 
attribute all to Cornaro; but, until further proof is attain- 
able, it would be wise to abstain from giving any positive 

The portico, together with other parts of the city palace, 
has been described and commended by many; and, though it 
is not widely known, there are always foreigners who visit it. 
But who goes to visit the edifices mentioned by Marcolini, 
and the others omitted by him, all away from the city? Not 
only has very little been written about them, but some of 
them have, unfortunately, been forever lost. 

Last summer, while traveling through the Venetian 
country, I went to the scenes of Comaro's work, to find how 
much had, by time and man, been left of the buildings. I did 
not find all that he had built, or even all that had been seen 
by some writers at the end of the last century ; but I clearly 
saw that what yet remains is well worth illustrating and 
writing about. Among these remains is a fine architectural 
work, which, until now, so far as I am able to learn, had been 
forgotten; I also found some useful documents in the course 
of my researches in the archives. Therefore, uniting the fruits 
of my two investigations, I deemed it well to make known 
what I have myself learned about the works constructed in 
the country by the illustrious nobleman. 

It is well, from the very first, to make a distinction 
between the edifices built at Comaro's own expense and for 
his own use, and those built by him for the account of 
Cardinal Francesco Pisani, — Bishop of Padua from 1524 to 
1567, — for whom Comaro acted as administrator during 



several years. The distinction is readily made; for there 
still remain the documents relating to Comaro's property, 
which had been presented at different times to the officials of 
the Commune of Padua. They do not register ai(iy property 
at either Campagna or Luvigliano. Here, therefore, his work 
was for the Bishopric and not for himself. Let us now com- 
mence with these two places. 

At Campagna Lupia, near Dolo, not very far from the 
lagoon, is a large farmhouse which belonged to the Bishop of 
Padua, but is now owned by a gentleman of that city. It was 
this house that Temanza recognized as the one mentioned 
by Marcolini as Comaro's work ; though he arbitrarily put it 
to the credit of Falconetto, and published it as such in his 
biographical work, in 1778. 

Twenty-four years later, it was visited by the publisher 
Pietro Brandolese, a passionate lover of artistic researches 
relating to Venice, who described it minutely in an un- 
published letter to Count Giovanni de Lazzara, as follows: 
''At a short distance from the church, or rather just before 
coming to it, is a country-house belonging to the Bishopric 
of Padua, built by Falconetto. It is the same one to which 
Temanza refers, at page 138 and the following pages, under 
the simple denomination of 'seventeen arches.' It is wholly 
of a rustic style, built of brick and carefully selected stone. 
The fagade is formed of seventeen arches of slight propor- 
tions, flanked by very strong pillars. There is no aperture 
whatever above these, and the facade ends with a simple band 
which serves as a cornice. Under the portico the building is 
divided into three parts by two stairways which lead to the 
granaries, the central section receding a little from the sides. 
Without a plan before us, it is not possible to describe the 
arrangement of the ground floor, which possesses every con- 
venience for farming purposes: rooms for the peasants; 
stables for cattle, horses, and all kinds of animals ; cellars ; etc., 
— all very cleverly arranged. The vaults are wholly in brick 
— ^not beams. On the first floor are the granaries, which one 
can enter by the stairs, as well as from the terraces by means 



of an arched bridge, as is clearly seen by what remains near 
the courtyard door. This door, in rustic style, is nearly all 
lost. The fagade of the portico is all of hewn stone, with 
apertures cleverly arranged, corresponding to the uses of the 
house and to its internal disposition. The entire building, in 
fact, gives evidence of a very skillful architect. Its plans 
would serve, to-day, as an ingenious model for a farmhouse, 
with due allowance, however, for all the modem needs which 
differ from those of that age." 

The Count de Lazzara, fifteen years later, in a letter 
which was published by Gamba, warrants the statement that 
Cornaro had "presided" over the construction of this farm- 
house, and that its architect was his guest. But not even 
Bishop Dondi Orologio, who had made researches for him 
among the old documents, had been able to find the name of 
this architect, or of any other. Wherefore he wrote thus: 
'Tf Temanza speaks of the beautiful portico at Campagna as 
having been built by Louis Cornaro, the author of The 
Temperate Life,' I doubt his being right. Cornaro was the 
administrator of the Bishopric of Padua for many years; 
and, under the date of August 17, 1546, there is a writing of 
Cardinal Pisani, in which the Bishop admits owing the afore- 
said Cornaro 11,120 ducats, for buildings and improvements 
made by him on the property of the Bishopric. The docu- 
ment does not say where the buildings were, nor where the 
improvements were made; perhaps, among the former, the 
one at Campagna is included." 

The learned Bishop was wise in presuming only that 
which was likely, and affirming nothing more. If it is prob- 
able that Falconetto may have had something to do with it, 
there are no proofs ; so it is useless to mention his name. We 
may, indeed, believe that the building was erected during 
Cornaro's administration ; and the fact of its having been 
attributed to him since 1544, in a letter publicly addressed 
to him, ought to be more than sufficient proof. Under such 
circumstances, doubt is unreasonable. 

Certain documents, regarding the adjustment of the 



accounts of Cornaro and Cardinal Pisani, testify that the 
illustrious administrator was occupied, during the years 1532, 
'33> &nd '34, in establishing throughout the lands of the 
Bishopric the system of farming on equal shares; and an 
eye-witness tells us that "at Campagna his ambitions in this 
regard were fully realized." In all likelihood that was the 
time when the necessity for some large place in which to store 
the harvest was most felt; and Cornaro must have provided 
for it by building the country-house in question. There are, 
in fact, records of an account for stone used in building the 
barns at Campagna, which account was presented to the 
Cardinal. The place was commonly called "the granary of 
Campagna," and it was also designated "the episcopal palace 
in the domain of Campagna." It is, to-day, in much the 
same condition as described by Brandolese. 

Not very far from the monumental Abbey of Praglia — 
upon a little eminence at the foot of the Euganean Hills, from 
which one commands the view of a great part of the Paduan 
plain — rises the palace at Luvigliano, to which ascent is 
gained from the east and west by superb double stairways. 
This was probably the site of the old village church and 
parish house which were demolished and built elsewhere, in 
1474, at the expense of Bishop Jacobo Zeno, to make way, 
perhaps, for the new building and the adjacent gardens. At 
all events, the palace was erected and completed much later 
by Cornaro — as Marcolini tells us — and, consequently, during 
his administration; indications, indeed, are not wanting to 
confirm this view. 

In the documents pertaining to the adjustment already 
alluded to, this palace at Luvigliano is likewise mentioned in 
reference to the stone employed, as well as to other building 
expenses. It is also likely that when Cornaro gave up his 
care of the Bishopric's property the palace was already com- 
pleted, as would appear from the allusion referring to it, found 
in a summary of his administration: "and he completed the 
work which he had begun." 

Later, during the incumbency of Francesco and Alvise 



Pisani, — prior to 1570, — the fine doorways leading into the 
park and courtyard, the fountain, the crenelated battlements, 
and other things of more or less secondary importance, were 
constructed by the architect Andrea Da Valle, the sculptor 
Agostino Righetti, and others. In the course of time occurred 
other, small additions or restorations; but always in con- 
formity with the original design of the villa, in which one can 
admire, to this day, the happy intellect that created it. 

This, like the rest of Cornaro's buildings, has been at- 
tributed to his friend without any proof or reason. Selvatico 
alone reasoned, after examining the palace, that 'The style 
of architecture, more than any of the historical notes, dis- 
closes it to be the work of Falconetto"; and he added this 
opinion: "Though not everyone may be contented with all 
that adorns this structure, none can help admiring the beauty 
and richness of its design." 

Great astonishment was felt that Cardinal Francesco 
Pisani visited only once — perhaps in 1547, and just for a few 
hours — ^that superb and exquisite palace which used to fill 
with pride the hearts even of those who had merely the good 
fortune to own property in its neighborhood ; as was the case 
with that chaplain who wrote, in Latin, this inscription on 
the wall: 

''langfbanous canipanona, nicknamed mONBAHI- 


In one of his dialogues, published in 1561, the eminent 
jurist, Marco Mantova Benavides, puts these words in the 
mouth of Ulisse Bassiani: "You certainly do the place [the 
suburban villa at Bassanello] a wrong no less than does 
Cardinal Pisani, who has only been once to the palace which 


oobnabo'b vd^las 

he has constructed at Covigliano [sic] at such an enormous 
expense that it commands the admiration of all who see it; 
and even then he did not remain more than a day." Oh, what 
were the quiet pleasures of a residence in such a place, to the 
ambition of a Cardinal who was eligible to the papal chair! 
He abandoned even his Bishopric for Rome! 

Louis Comaro, on the other hand, knew how to, and did, 
find such pleasures; and all the things he had built for him- 
self he enjoyed both heartily and for a great length of time. 
In 1542, remembering that he had always benefited "literati, 
musicians, architects, painters, sculptors, and others," and 
that he hstd spent "many and many thousands of crowns in 
stately buildings and in many beautiful gardens," to Speroni 
he prided himself that he knew how to enjoy every happiness 
in "such well-arranged habitations and beautiful gardens of 
his own creation." And, though "many who attain these 
things do not generally enjoy them," he promised himself that, 
thanks to his temperate life, he would yet continue to enjoy 
them many and many years — ^which promise he certainly ful- 
filled. Later, in his happy and industrious old age, he again 
expressed his satisfaction over it; and he delighted to tell 
how he divided his time between town and country. To this 
very circumstance we are indebted to him for some interesting 
points on the subject of our research. 

"I go," he writes, "in April and May, and again in 
September and October, to enjoy a country-seat of mine in 
the Euganean Hills, most beautifully situated, with its gardens 
and fountains, and especially its beautiful and comfortable 
dwelling. I sometimes go there, also, to take part in the 
pleasant and agreeable hunting, of the kind suitable to my 
age. I enjoy, for as many days, my villa in the plain, which is 
beautiful, with many pretty streets all meeting in a fine 
square, in the center of which stands its church, highly 
honored, as befits the importance of the place. The villa is 
divided by a wide and rapid branch of the river Brenta, on 



either side of which the country extends in cultivated and 
fertile fields ; and it is now — the Lord be thanked ! — ^very well 
populated, which before was certainly not the case, but rather 
the opposite, as it was marshy and malarial, and more suited 
to snakes than to men. After I had drained off the water, the 
air became pure, and people began to settle; the inhabitants 
multiplied greatly, and the place grew to the perfect state 
in which one sees it to-day. I can, therefore, truly say that 
in this place I gave to God an altar, a temple, and souls to 
worship Him." 

This is the village of Codevigo, about four miles distant 
from Piove di Sacco; here the records of the Paduan Com- 
mune indicate, in addition to the numerous and extensive 
possessions of Cornaro, a house for his own use, "with a 
courtyard, kitchen-garden, orchard, and vineyard" of about 
the size of "five fields." One of his nephews, in a letter, 
describes it as follows: "His country-seat, both comfortable 
and adapted to agriculture, is built according to the finest 
architecture, and is stronger and more commodious than any 
other in the neighborhood. He wished to construct the vaults 
entirely of stone, so as to be safe in case of fire, war, or any 
other calamity." Marcolini also codfirms that it was built by 

In the same village, — according to this nephew, — ^besides 
the beautiful church which he transformed from the un- 
attractive structure it had formerly been, and the altar of 
which Cornaro himself spoke, he also built the bridge over the 
river Brenta — "a work worthy not only of a single individual 
but of a whole community" — as well as many houses for the 
farmers. But, in the course of time, much of all this was lost ; 
and there remains, at present, even less than was seen by 
Temanza and Brandolese. 

Temanza, who always returned gladly to those places to 
see Comaro's edifices, which he judged as "works of merit 
and worthy of being imitated," wrote in the following man- 
ner : "At the village of Codevigo in the country round Padua, 
situated on the right bank of the river Brenta, — ^which, in that 



part, is called Brentone, — Coraaro owned an enormous estate. 
The health of the place was impaired by stagnant waters, for 
the drainage of which no means had as yet been provided ; and 
he, who for those times was learned in hydrostatics, reduced the 
marshes to dry land, improved the condition of the atmosphere, 
and thereby caused a great increase in the number of settlers. 
He first built the parish church, dedicated to the prophet 
Zacharias. He then constructed a noble, though not very 
large, palace, with porticos and courtyards, as becomes a villa. 
All these buildings are the work of Giovanni Maria [Fal- 
conetto]. A majestic doorway forms the entrance to the 
palace. It has two Ionic columns on the sides, a rich cornice, 
and a majestic frontispiece, which bears, carved in the center 
of its upper part, a large eagle with wings outspread. This 
edifice has two stories; the first is vaulted, the second has 
rafted ceilings. The lower part of the church facade, — which 
is in Doric style, — ^as well as the doorway and windows, 
reminds one of the style of Falconetto. The altar bears the 
same character, and has a fine terra-cotta bas-relief of good 
workmanship, representing a scene in the life of the prophet 

One cannot imagine where Temanza obtained his in- 
formation about the priority of the building of the church, or 
the certainty that all these edifices were due to Falconetto, 
though his writings are decidedly of value; for, as early as 
1802, vandal hands had begun to destroy these monuments. 

As good fortune would have it, in that very year, on the 
eighth of July, Brandolese happened to be there ; and he gave 
to Count de Lazzara the following narrative of his experience : 
"I proceeded eagerly to Codevigo, to learn what remained 
there of Falconetto's work. The church does not exist any 
more, except, as you know, the Doric part of the facade ; and 
of these remains I admired the model and the elegance of 
different parts. On entering the church to see the altar, I 
found that the place where it used to exist was in the course 
of reconstruction, and saw the original pieces thrown care- 
lessly on the ground. I inquired what was to be the fate of 



this fine monument^ and learned that it was to be reduced and 
refitted for a new chapel. I pleaded with the parish priest 
that it might be rebuilt as it was originally, and I trust I have 
obtained the favor. I observed the archway in the buildings 
close by, now belonging to the Foscari family ; and I admired 
more than ever the wise investigator of the remains of Roman 

Brandolese's words were heeded, and the exquisite altar 
remains to this day, though without the table and the terra- 
cotta bas-relief; and it occupies the chapel to the left of the 
principal altar. 

The old bridge, and the doorway of the Cornaro Palace, 
however, exist no longer. The building has been repeatedly 
modified, and now presents nothing especially worthy of 
notice ; only a few stones, which may have formed the base of 
the columns of the doorway, still lie scattered about under the 
courtyard portico. The facade of the church, which is Doric 
below and Corinthian above, had been recently whitened ; and 
the old steeple, which leaned so greatly to one side as to 
threaten a collapse, had been supported with a buttress 
extending nearly to the belfry. 

We have yet to speak of the other villa mentioned by 
Cornaro before he spoke of Codevigo. He does not name it, 
but only says it was in the Euganean Hills and ''in their most 
beautiful spot." Some thought of Luvigliano, and supposed 
that he had there taken to draining the marshes, felling the 
woods, breaking up the ground, and cultivating the lands; 
and they said that the fact of his having breathed the pure air 
of that place was one of the causes which prolonged his life 
to a very old age. Gamba believed that it did not become the 
property of the Bishopric of Padua until sometime later ; but 
such, as we have seen, it had always been ; and we cannot be- 
lieve that the noble Cornaro considered it, even during his ad- 
ministration, as his own property, or lived there as if it were 
his own home. Of which place, then, does he mean to speak? 



Not one of the many who have written about him has ever yet 
told us, notwithstanding the fact that in 1842, among the 
collection of Venetian inscriptions edited 'by Cicogna, was 
published the letter of Coraaro's nephew, already mentioned, 
which explains that this villa was at Este. 

"He created," writes the nephew, "on a hill near Este, a 
delightful garden, full of divers and delicate fountains and 
perfect grapes." And, continuing : "In his youth he delighted 
in hunting big game, such as wild boar and the stag; and, as 
such animals were not to be found in this country [near 
Padua], but in the territory of Este divided by an arm of the 
Po [sic], he built there a comfortable hunting residence; and 
annually, for many a year, he used to go there, killing a large 
number of these animals, which he either sent to some of 
his friends, or else distributed in Venice or Padua. When the 
sport was at its end, he had a comedy prepared and given in 
his own hall, which he had built in imitation of the ancient 
ones. The stage was made of durable stone; but the part 
reserved for the audience was of wood, so that it could be 
taken down and removed. These performances were all very 
successful, as he had living with him some clever artists, such 
as the famous "^Ruzzante." 

Furthermore, the Paduan records confirm, without any 
doubt, that he owned "a house on the hills outside the gates 
of Este, with an orchard and a vineyard of six fields," which 
he kept for his private use. 

Carefully examining all the records, as well as all the 
histories of Este that have ever been published, I found — and 
that in a monograph of 1 851— only the following uncertain 
allusion to a Cornaro Villa built at that place : "Beyond [the 
Kunkler Palace] to the left, is a palace, perhaps in old days 
that of Cornaro, and later belonging to the Farsetti family ; it 
is built on a beautiful height, and has been, according to the 
designs of Japelli, enlarged and improved with great taste by 
its present owner. Doctor Adolfo Benvenuti." 

I then went to Este to find this Villa Benvenuti ; and, to 
my surprise and delight, I found* at the entrance of the garden 

* See Note Q 



a fine archway of classic style, in which I thought I saw no 
little resemblance to the architectural works of Cornaro and 
Falconetto. The situation of the villa coincides precisely with 
the description in the records of Padua; for we find, by 
examining old topographical maps, that, in order to get to it 
from the center of the city, it was necessary to pass the Santa 
Tecla gate, which was demolished centuries ago. 

The archives of the city of Este contained nothing that 
could convert my supposition into certainty; but a few days 
later, while examining the old papers of the Bishopric of 
Padua, I came upon a contract of 1650, in which the Procura- 
tor Giovanni Battista Cornaro had leased to Giorgio Cornaro, 
Bishop of Padua, for ten years, "his palace at Este, near the 
convent of the Capuchins, with all its fields, kitchen-gardens, 
orchards, parks, fountains, vineyards, etc." To this contract 
was annexed a minutely detailed inventory of the furniture in 
the house. This document dispelled all my doubts, as many 
details mentioned in it are identical with the views of the Villa 
Farsetti and its garden, drawn by Coronelli in the beginning 
of the eighteenth century; and other particulars have been 
preserved, and are noticeable to this day, in the Villa 
Benvenuti. This villa, belonging formerly to the Farsetti 
family, is therefore none other than the old Villa Cornaro : it 
is near the convent of the Capuchins, and nearer to it is the 
house of the farmer who has charge of it; just as we know 
that the palace of the Procurator Cornaro was near the 
convent, and that nearer still was the house of his steward. 

In the Benvenuti garden there is running water, which 
is very scarce in these hills ; this is made to pass through lead 
pipes. In fact, we find recorded in the inventory "eighty-six 
pipes of lead, weighing 2080 lbs.," to be used for the fountains. 
And, furthermore, a historian of Este, in 1743, published the 
following: "There is Cavalier Farsetti's villa near the 
convent of the Capuchins, where the house, being an un- 
pretentious one, does not arouse great curiosity to see it ; but 
the site and the playing fountains are worthy to be considered, 
and the place has frequent visitors." If we also examine 



minutely the engravings of Coronelli we shall see a portico of 
seven arches under the palace ; in the garden a large stairway, 
with many flower vases on pedestals on each side; and, close 
by, two vine trellises. The inventory, furthermore, mentions 
a portico below in the front of the palace ; a stairway on the 
outside; numerous boxes and vases of plants — among them 
lemon trees, orange trees, and prickly-pear trees; fifty 
pedestals of stone for the orange trees; and vine trellises 
supported by columns of stone, connected by iron arches. 

These comparisons are more than sufficient to establish 
the identity of the two villas. But, in ending, I shall not omit 
to add another piece of information furnished by the inven- 
tory. In it is a full list of an interesting collection of pictures 
which were distributed about the rooms of the palace. Among 
them, besides "a Comaro coat of arms painted on canvas," and 
a portrait of the well-known Queen of Cyprus, there is a 
painting of Ruzzante, the protege and affectionate friend of 
Louis Cornaro, who used to frequent with him these lovely 
hills, and who, after the hunting, would recite in the hall 
which Cornaro had built in his own house. Of this hall there 
is now no vestige ; and the palace is really no longer the one 
of yore, as the architect of the Caife Pedrocchi has repaired it 
on an extensive scale. But Coronelli's engraving remains, and 
it gives us some idea of the physiognomy of the building 
erected by the famous author of "The Temperate Life." 

We can suppose the same about the garden, on com- 
paring the other engraving, where we see the stairway 
leading from the courtyard to the first floor of the palace, but 
not the classical archway which stood at the foot of it And 
yet the engraver Sebastiano Giampiccoli did not omit to 
picture it — ^though very imperfectly — ^with the garden and 
stairway, the palace and the large lateral conservatories; as 
did also an amateur, who, in 1775, engraved a panorama of the 
city. We find it more faithfully reproduced in the "Design 
of the Ancient City of Este," of 1566, which accompanies the 
unpublished history of Michele Lonigo, to be found in the 
Estense Library of Modena. This drawing proves that the 



archway was there at least as early as the year following 
Louis Cornaro's death, and it is reasonable to suppose that it 
was he who built it; this supposition is strengthened by the 
proofs of the great resemblance between the architectural 
style of this arch and the works of Cornaro and his friend 

The Este archway belongs to the Roman style, of which 
the two were such enthusiastic admirers; and it is, indeed, a 
free imitation of the archway of Janus Quadrifrons, erected 
in Rome not earlier than the reign of Caracalla, or that of 
Septimius Severus, or, according to some, as late as the time 
of Constantine. In the treatises on architecture of the six- 
teenth century it had already taken its place among the 
models. Furthermore, the two architects, Cornaro and Fal- 
conetto, must certainly have seen and examined it, during 
their visits to Rome to study the building art of the ancients. 

In the modern, as well as in the ancient arch, there are 
small niches, with vaultings in the shape of shells ; but in the 
former their number was reduced from twelve to eight in the 
first two divisions, and were omitted altogether in the third 
to the summit of the arch, on which there was simply an attic, 
as on others of Falconetto's arches — ^but without inscriptions 
or figures. The style of the little pillars between the niches 
is not varied as in the Roman model ; but only the Composite 
is used, which was also called Triumphal, from the triumphal 
archways. The grand arch itself rests on two protruding sills, 
the keystone is sculptured, and the panaches are ornamented 
by two flying Victories with their torches extended. These 
particulars, which are wanting in the arch of Janus, are found 
in the works of Falconetto and the buildings erected by 
Cornaro. In fact, the jambs of the famous portico present the 
same shape as the archway — fine or heavy, as the case may 
be. Besides, the central arch of the portico bears two sculp- 
tured Goddesses of Fame, undoubtedly different and better, 
but respectively analogous in the attitude of the arms ; and the 
next two parts of the archways inclose here, likewise, a head 
of a satyr with ram's horns — an ornament used by the 
Veronese artist also on the exterior of the gate of Savonarola. 



One could find other analogies beyond these, of which 
there is, perhaps, no need. Let us observe, instead, a 
difference which seems to contradict. The proportion 
between the width and the height of the opening in the Este 
archway is less than one-half; Falconetto, instead, always 
made the breadth surpass half of the height. But we must 
know here that, as Japelli had to lower the level of the court- 
yard, he lowered also the ground under the arch and 
lengthened the ends of the pillars, as is told us by the people 
of the place, and as is visible by the difference in the new stone 
which was used. To him, therefore, is due the alteration ; and 
it does not in the least weaken the supposition that it was 
erected by Cornaro, perhaps with Falconetto's aid. 

Though my effort to arrive at this conclusion may, after 
all, appear to some a useless one, surely it will not be judged 
so by those who reflect that I have called the attention of the 
learned to a fine work of the closing period of the Venetian 
Renaissance— one which no one had as yet brought to notice. 

EmUio Lovarini. 


This is the excellent foppery of the world, that 
when we are eick in fortune — often the surfeit of our 
own behavior — we make guilty of our disasters the sun, 
the moon, and the stars: as if we were villains by neces- 
sity, fools by heavenly compulsion; knaves, thieves, and 
treachers, by spherical predominance; drunkards, liars, 
and adulterers, by an enforced obedience of planetary 
influence; and all that we are evil in, by a divine thrust- 
ing on: an admirable evasion of man, to lay his goatish 
disposition to the charge of a star! — ^'King Lear." 


A — ^According to the official count of the returns of the Twelfth 
Census, (Census Reports, Vol. II., pp. XXXVI. and XXXVIII.), 
the population of the mainland of the United States (excluding 
Alaska, Hawaii, and persons in the military and naval service of 
the United States, stationed abroad) was, in 1900, as follows: 

Total Males Females 

75,994,575 38,816,448 (Si.i pcr cent.) 37,178,127 (48.9 per cent.) 
The number of persons returned as go years of age and over 
was 33,762, classified by sex and age groups as follows: 

Total Men Percent. Women Per cent. 

90 to 94 years 23,992 9,858 41.1 I4,i34 58.9 

95 to 99 years 6,266 2,417 38.6 3,849 614 

100 years and over 3,504 1,271 36.3 2,233 63.7 

B— John Witt Randall (1813 — 1892) was a great-grandson of Samuel 
Adams, the American Revolutionary patriot. This poem was selected 
by William Cullen Bryant for publication in his review of Randall's 
"Consolations of Solitude." The article appeared in the New York 
"Evening Post" of December 17, 1856. The poem is here reproduced 
by courtesy of Francis Ellingwood Abbot, editor of Randall's "Poems 
of Nature and Life" (George H. Ellis, Boston, 1899). 

C — In the selections from Addison, Bacon, Temple, etc., the 
spelling and punctuation have been, to some extent, modernized. 
The Bacon article is not an unbroken section of his works, but a 
collection of many short passages, in the arrangement of which we 
have avoided the use of the customary indication of omissions of 
irrelevant matter. The same is true of the article from Temple's 

The given name of the author of "The Temperate Life" has long 
been familiar to his English readers in its anglicized form; and we 
have thought it best, in speaking of the members of his family, to 
insert the English equivalents of their names, where such exist, with 
the object of bringing the work as near as possible to the general 

D — The Di Spilimbergo family was an Italian patrician branch of 
a house of German origin, which, as early as the 13th century, resided 
and ruled in that part of Friuli, in northern Italy, known as Spilim- 
bergo. This noble and ancient house was very powerful, exercising — 



in some cases feudal, in others allodial — ^lordship over many vast 
estates, among which were the castles of Spilimbergo, Zuccola, Solim- 
bergo, Flambro, Belgrado, and others. The family, ennobled in 1532 
by Emperor Charles V., numbered among its eminent members many 
soldiers, statesmen, prelates, and artists— one of the latter being the 
famous painter, Irene di Spilimbergo (1540-1559). The city of Spilim- 
bergo,— of which the population in 1901 was 2,331,— on the Tajamento, 
14 miles west of Udine, was named after this family. 

£ — Giovanni Maria (John Mary) Palconetto, one of the most 
eminent of Italian architects, was born at Verona, in 1458. He 
studied architecture at Rome, then returned to Verona, later making 
his home in Padua. Greatly improving the style of architecture in 
the Venetian states, he designed and constructed many admirable 
buildings and other works in Padua, Verona, and elsewhere. His 
masterpiece, the celebrated Cornaro Loggia in Padua, suggested to 
Palladio the design of his villa at Vicenza, the famous Rotonda Capra; 
the latter— once one of the greatest monuments of modern archi- 
tectural art, and described by Goethe as a marvel of splendor — has, 
in its turn, served as a copy for others, among them the beautiful 
Chiswick House, the villa of the dukes of Devonshire, at Chiswick, 
England. In the Church of San Antonio, in Padua, the Cappella del 
Santo, so remarkable for its grandeur and beauty, was completed by 
him. He died in 1534. 

F — Claudius Galenus, commonly known as Galen, the most 
eminent physician, as well as one of the most learned and accom- 
plished men, of his day, was born at Pergamus, in Mysia, Asia Minor, 
A. D. 130. At the age of fifteen he studied logic and philosophy at 
his native city; two years later he began the study of medicine, con- 
tinuing it at Smyrna, Corinth, and Alexandria. At the age of thirty- 
four he removed to Rome; there he gained great fame, and became 
the physician of the illustrious philosopher. Emperor Marcus Aurelius 
Antoninus, as well as of the Emperors Lucius Verus, Lucius Aurelius 
Commodus, and Lucius Septimius Severus. He was born with a very 
delicate constitution; yet, by living a strictly temperate life and never 
fully satisfying his appetite, he was enabled to attain great age. 
The place and date of his death are uncertain, occurring, according 
to some historians, at his native city, in the year 201; while others 
place the date as much as eighteen years later. There are good 
reasons for believing the latter to be correct. 

Galen confessed himself greatly indebted to the writings of 
Hippocrates, who preceded him about six centuries, and who is known 
as The Father of Medicine. He was an extensive writer on medicine 
and philosophy, as well as on logic and ethics; of his works there 
are still in existence eighty-three treatises, besides fifteen com- 
mentaries on the works of Hippocrates. For thirteen hundred years, 



throughout Europe and the East, Galen was the recognized authority 
in the science of medicine. 

G — Doge (the Venetian modified form of the Italian duce, from 
the Latin dux, a leader or duke) was the title of the chief magis- 
trate of the Republic of Venice. The dignity, or office, was called 
Dogato. The incumbent was always elected for life, and was origi- 
nally chosen by universal suffrage. He continued to acquire more 
and more irresponsible authority, until, in 1033 and 1172, laws were 
passed which, in various ways, greatly reduced his power. These in- 
cluded the association with him of a body of 470 councilors, known 
as the Great Council. At the same time universal suffrage was 

In 1268, the doge — "King in the forum, senator in the legislative 
hall, prisoner in the palace" — was elected by a peculiarly complex 
method, which remained in vogue, with but little change, until the 
fall of the Republic: thirty members of the Great Council, elected by 
ballot, chose nine members; they, in their turn, chose forty; twelve 
of these forty, selected by lot, chose twenty-five; the twenty-five 
were reduced to nine; the nine elected forty-five; the forty-five were 
reduced to eleven; and the eleven chose the final forty-one, in whose 
hands lay the actual election of the doge. The powers of the doge 
became, in time, so restricted as to be little more than nominal; and 
the constant espionage to which he was subjected, made the office 
less sought for than in the past; indeed, in 1339, it was necessary to 
forbid, by law, the resignation of the incumbent. There were, in all, 
one hundred and twenty doges; the first, Paolo Lucio Anafesto, was 
elected in 697; the last, Lodovico Manin, in 1789. Of the whole 
number, the Cornaro family furnished four. 

H— After the dignity of Doge, that of Procurator of St. Mark 
(Italian, Procuratore di San Marco) was the highest. Originally, 
there was only one procurator; but, in 1442, the number was increased 
to nine. They discharged functions of a varied and responsible 
character, and were designated as follows: the procurator de supra 
(above), in whose care was the imposing Basilica of St. Mark— one 
of the most interesting churches in Europe, begun in 828 but not 
consecrated until 11 11 — ^as well as the revenues attached to it; the 
procurator de citra (this side), who had charge of the charitable works 
on "this side"; and the procurator de ultra (beyond), who had charge 
of them on "that side,"— of the Grand Canal. As the office was be- 
stowed only upon the foremost men of the day, it was occupied by 
many whose names form a part of Venetian, and often of European, 
history. Twenty-two members of the Cornaro family are found in 
this roll of illustrious men, which ended with the fall of the Republic. 

I— The Boganean Hills (Italian, Colli Euganei) were so named 
from the people, who, according to Livy, occupied this territory until 



driven out by the Veneti. The highest point is Monte Venda. These 
hills are covered with a luxuriant growth, and the views from their 
summits are the finest in all Italy. It was the red larch, and the 
granitic and porphyritic rocks abounding there, that were largely used 
in the construction of the Doge's Palace — ^built originally about the 
year 820— and other famous buildings of Venice. Of the many col- 
lections of prehistoric relics found in these hills, that in the Museum 
of Antiquities of Mantua is especially interesting and valuable. With 
lovers of musical verse, Shelley's poem, "Lines Written Among the 
Euganean Hills," has long been a familiar favorite. 

J — Danielle (Daniel) Barbaro, an Italian ecclesiastic and Patri- 
arch of Aquileia, was born at Venice, in 151 3. He was an extensive 
writer, among his works being a treatise, "On Eloquence," and a com- 
mentary, "On the Architecture of Vitruvius"; the latter contributing 
largely toward the return to the classical style of architecture. His 
beautiful residence, a unique specimen of the villas of the Venetian 
nobility of the period, was created and adorned by the united genius 
of three of the great artists of the Renaissance, — ^Andrea Palladio, 
Paolo Veronese, and Allessandro Vittoria, — and was a noted center of 
arts and letters. He died in 1570. 

K — ^Aquileia, an ancient city at the head of the Adriatic, 22 miles 
northwest of Trieste, was colonized by the Romans about 181 B. C. 
At a later period it was chosen by Julius Caesar as headquarters for 
his forces in Cisalpine Gaul. In 160, the Emperor Marcus Aurelius 
Antoninus fortified it so strongly that it was considered the first 
bulwark of the Roman Empire against the northern barbarians, and 
was called The Second Rome. At one time it was the capital and 
first city of Venetia. In the 5th century it had 100,000 inhabitants; 
but, in 452, it was destroyed by Attila, King of the Huns, and the 
inhabitants fled to the lagoons on which Venice now stands. From 
this it never fully recovered; yet, rebuilt, it continued to enjoy con- 
siderable prosperity. At the council of 556, the Bishop of Aquileia 
separated from the Church of Rome and took the title of Patriarch. 
In 1420, Venice deprived it of most of its possessions; and, in the 
latter half of the eighteenth century, the Patriarchate was abolished. 
The city is said to have derived its name from the Latin aquila, an 
eagle having appeared as a favorable omen to its founders; but it is 
more probable that the name owes its origin to the fact that the 
"aquila" was the standard of the Romans. The population is now 
about 2,000. 

L — The Cornelii ranked among the most illustrious of the patri- 
cian families of Rome, and no other house produced a greater number 
of individuals who notably distinguished themselves in war and 
civil affairs. To this family belonged Cornelia,— daughter of the 
famous Scipio, and wife of Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus, — who is 

: [212] 


known in history not only as Cornelia, Mother of the Gracchi, but 
also as the purest woman mentioned in the historical period of Rome. 
She was the mother of twelve children and lived to extreme old age, 
dying about 130 6. C. 

M — ^The Bucentaur (Italian, II Bucentoro), the state galley of 
the Venetian doges, was employed to conduct illustrious guests, 
whom the Republic delighted to honor, to the Ducal Palace. It was 
also used in the ceremony of espousing the Adriatic, into whose 
waters the doge dropped a ring, with these words: "We espouse thee. 
Sea, in token of true and perpetual sovereignty." This historic 
custom, which was in itself a proclamation and a challenge to the 
world, originated in the celebration of the triumph, in 11 77, of the 
Venetians under Sebastiano Ziani, the 39th doge, over the forces of 
Frederick I. (Barbarossa), Emperor of Germany; and was annually 
observed, without interruption and with all its original pomp and 
splendor, from that year until the close of the Republic in 1797. The 
galley, 100 feet long and 21 feet in extreme breadth, was manned by 
168 rowers, four to each oar, and by 40 sailors. Its fittings, gorgeous 
in the extreme, were brilliant with scarlet and gold; its long banks 
of oars brightly burnished; and its deck and seats inlaid with costly 
woods. The ship perhaps received its name from the figure of a 
bucentaur — head of a man and body of a bull — in the bow. 

N— The Golden Book (Italian, II Libro d'Oro), was the parch- 
ment register in which were kept the complete records of the births, 
marriages, deaths, etc., of all the members of the Venetian hereditary 
nobility. Anyone enrolled in this famous register, had he attained 
the age of twenty-five and been found worthy, was eligible to mem- 
bership in the Great Council. It was a unique institution; opened in 
1315, it enjoyed a duration of centuries, until it was closed, forever, 
in the fatal year of 1797. It is now among the archives of the 

O — Bartolomeo (Bartholomew) Gamba, a noted Italian biog- 
rapher and author, was born at Bassano,— on the river Brenta, in 
northern Italy, — May 15, 1766. As a distinguished printer and editor, 
he was elected, in 1831, Vice-Librarian of the Marciana. There he 
acquired such fame as a bibliographer, that he was made a member 
of several Italian academies, including the one at Florence. Among 
his many writings, acknowledged to be of great merit, are: "A Gallery 
of the Literati and Artists of the Venetian Provinces in the Eight- 
eenth Century" (1824), and his "Life of Dante" (1825). He died 
May 3> 1841- 

P — Caiiu Cilnius Maecenas, a celebrated Roman statesman, and 
the most influential patron of literature at Rome, was born about 
70 B. C, of an ancient and noble Etruscan family. He was, for many 
years, the intimate friend, as well as chief minister and adviser, of 



th^ Emperor Augustus, by whom he was held in the highest respect 
and honor. His palace, on the Esquiline Hill, was long the prin- 
cipal resort of the literati of Rome. It was chiefly due to his 
aid that the poets Horace and Virgil were granted the means for 
the enjoyment of literary leisure; and the latter wrote his "Geor- 
gics" at the request of his benefactor. His death, occurring at Rome, 
in the year 8 B. C, was considered by all— -especially by Augustus — 
an irreparable loss. As early as the ist century his name had become 
proverbial as a patron of letters; indeed, among all the names — 
royal, noble, or otherwise eminent — associated with their patronage, 
none in ancient or modern times is so familiarly known as that of 
Maecenas; a century after whose death the poet Martial wrote: "Let 
there but be Maecenases, and Virgils shall not be lacking." Maecenas 
is a familiar character in Shakespeare's "Antony and Cleopatra." 

— Rnxxante, a favorite Italian dramatic poet, whose true name 
was Angelo Beolco, was born at Padua, in 1502. Gifted with remark- 
able talent, he was the author of many dialogues, discourses, and 
various other writings in the rustic Paduan dialect, which he had 
thoroughly mastered. The large number of comedies which he com- 
posed were all highly applauded wherever heard. 

A few young men of good family accompanied him on his 
travels as an artist, reciting, as he did, under the shelter of a dis- 
guise—concealing their real names under others borrowed from the 
scenes in which they appeared. In the recital of these farces he 
took the part of the joker or jester (Italian, Ruzzante); and it was 
to this circumstance that he owed his sobriquet of Ruzzante, which 
clung to him ever after. Indeed, from that time on, he used it 
instead of his family name; it even -appeared in his works, which were 
published, complete, at Vicenza, in 1584, 1598, and 1617, under the title: 
"All the Works of the Most Famous Ruzzante, Newly and with the 
Greatest Diligence Revised and Corrected." He died March 17, 1542. 

R— Etnilio Lorenxo LoTarini^ professor of Italian literature in the 
royal Liceo (High School) Minghetti, of Bologna, was bom at Venice, 
March 7, 1866. His youth was passed in Padua, where he completed 
his education, receiving his degree of doctor of philology from the 
University of that city, July, 1889. 

Although still a young man. Dr. Lovarini has already acquired 
considerable reputation as an authority on various subjects, his 
researches covering a wide range. His chief writings pertain to the 
customs, dialect, folk lore, and rustic literature of ancient Padua; 
the habits and pastimes of students of the University in the t6th 
century; etc. He is the author, also, of a biography of Ruzzante, 
an illustrated critical edition of whose works he is how preparing. 
He has published a highly interesting work on gypsy melodies, and 
the songs of Taranto. 


Wrtzel Bbos. 

Pbintinq Compavt